STANDISH, Maine - #4 Saint Joseph's College (13-5-1) blanked #5 University of Saint Joseph (CT) (9-6-1), 4-0, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Soccer Tournament Quarterfinal contest at the SJC Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's advances to the second round and will face top-seeded Lasell College in a GNAC semifinal, for the second-consecutive season, on Tuesday, kick-off time TBD.
With the loss, University of Saint Joseph bows out of the GNAC Tournament.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
As it played out, senior defender Emily DeLuca (Gorham, Maine) netted the only marker the Monks required on a free kick taken on the right from about 30 yards out. At the 35:55 mark, the senior captain launched a perfect ball, to the upper far post and just beyond the reach of USJ keeper Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.), which ricocheted off the frame and into the bottom of the net.
For good measure, the Monks tacked on three goals in the second half to account for the 4-0 final. Trolling the middle of the pitch, senior midfielder Sarah Comtois (Lowell, Mass.) found space and unleashed a shot from 30+ yards that nicked the crossbar and into the goal in the 53rd minute. Junior Haley DaGraca (Saco, Maine) made it a 3-0 game when she corralled a rebound and placed a shot into an empty net for her 17th goal of the year and 50th of her NCAA career.
Senior midfielder Lauren Stiles (Gorham, Maine) capped the game scoring in the 84th minute when she lofted a high shot, taken from about 25 yards out, beyond Ricci's reach.
Saint Joseph's senior netminder Brooke Troup (East Bridgewater, Mass.) made three saves to earn the win and pick up her GNAC-leading seventh shutout of the year. Ricci logged 14 saves, including 10 in the first half to keep her team within striking distance, in the losing bid.
- Freshmen Kenzie Murphy (West Baldwin, Maine) and Brianna Welch (Somersworth, N.H.) and sophomore Peggy Balboni (Millis, Mass.) were credited with assists in the victory
- DaGraca took a career-high 12 shots for the Monks
- For USJ, senior Jessica Spezzano (Watertown, Conn.) and junior Sarah Palko (Southington, Conn.) accounted for six of their team's seven shots with three apiece
Saint Joseph's posted considerable advantages in shots (30-7) and shots on goal (18-3) while the Blue Jays held a slim 3-2 edge in corner kicks on the afternoon.
With the triumph, Saint Joseph's is now 7-3-3 in the history of the series with University of Saint Joseph with a pair of wins over the Blue Jays this fall. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs was on October 28th, 2012 in Connecticut when USJ blanked SJC, 2-0.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.