By Maxime Devillaz
On Friday, Nov. 14, the women’s soccer team overwhelmed Assumption College in the first round of the NCAA Division II Championships in Albany, N.Y. Two days later though, they did not have the margins on their side, as they suffered a loss to first-seeded Saint Rose in overtime.
On Friday, the Pioneers took the lead in the latter stanza of the first half when junior midfielder Morgan Miller found the target from close range after a scramble. LIU Post stayed disciplined and made the most of their chances for the rest of the first half, as they had seven shots on goal and a dominant possession percentage. The Greyhounds only hit the target once.
In the second half, the Greyhounds came out strong, looking to even out the score, but the Pioneers responded with a quick goal. Senior forward Lauren Bellone found the unaccounted for sophomore forward Julia Backman on the left peak of the 18-yard box, and Backman found a gap to pass it in between the outstretched arms of the Greyhound keeper.
The goal forced Assumption to scale up the aggression. They outshot the Pioneers in the second half, but sophomore goalkeeper Hrafnhildur Agnarsdottir kept her gloves warm and the net untouched to record a clean sheet.
On Sunday, Nov. 16, the Pioneers returned to action against first- seeded Saint Rose for the second round of the NCAA Tournament. LIU Post continued its offensive stride and started off the scoring to put the home favorites under early pressure. Junior forward Susanne Vistnes dribbled through the defense before smashing the ball with her left foot from the 18-yard box into the lower right corner — making it her 19th goal of the season.
The Pioneers looked to be taking the lead into half time, but with less than a minute to go, a free kick out on the left wing found Saint Rose senior forward Carmelina Poupola who managed to get the ball just over the line to even out the score.
The scoreboard shone 1-1 even after full time, even though the Pioneers scored one at the end of the second stanza; the referee called a foul against the guests just as the ball hit the net, and the battle had to face overtime. Both teams had chances to kill the game, and it was Saint Rose that drew the longest straw. With only seconds left of the first overtime period, the hosts cooked up the winning recipe. A cross into the box found Poupola who scored again to make it 2-1.
“We got robbed on our goal just before they scored,” Agnarsdottir said, disappointed that the close ending did not favor the Green and Gold. Overall, however, the Pioneers have successfully finished the season with a 15-3-1 record, and qualified for the National Championships — said to be their main goal before the season.