Vermont Travels to Hartford, Maine Hosts Stony Brook in Women’s Soccer Semifinals
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Four teams remain alive in the 2012 America East Women's Soccer Championship, vying for an automatic bid to the NCAA College Cup. The semifinals will take place Sunday afternoon, with No. 4 Vermont traveling to No. 1 Hartford, and No 6 Stony Brook visiting No. 2 Maine.
Vermont and Stony Brook are both coming off thrilling victories in the quarterfinal round. Vermont topped Albany in penalty kicks to earn their first trip to the America East semifinals since the tournament expanded to six teams. Stony Brook held on to beat New Hampshire, 2-1, on the road to make their fifth trip to the semifinal round in six years.
Three of the four teams remaining in the championship have never won the tournament title, with Hartford being the only team to do so, with the Hawks' last coming in 2006.
- Vermont defeated No. 5 seed Albany in penalty kicks on Thursday after the teams finished regulation and overtime knotted at one goal apiece.
- Ally Ramos made three saves during penalty kicks to help the team overcome the Great Danes, 3-2.
- Vermont beat Hartford, 2-0, in Burlington, Vt., during the regular-season, accounting for one of only two Hartford losses during America East play.
- Haley Marks scored on a free kick in the game, while Bre Pletnik converted on a penalty kick.
- The Hawks boast the America East Striker of the Year (Amelia Pereira), Goalkeeper of the Year (Erin Quinlan) and Co-Coaching Staff of the Year (led by head coach John Natale).
- Hartford is making its second-straight trip to the America East semifinals, while Vermont is advancing for the first time since 1998. The Catamounts have never played in the America East title game and are coming off their first-ever win in championship play.
- The Hawks are looking to advance to the title game for the first time since 2006 when they won the title over Maine.
No. 6 Stony Brook at
No. 2 Maine, 1 p.m.
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- Stony Brook is coming off a, 2-1, win over No. 3 seed New Hampshire on Thursday. The Seawolves scored both goals off set pieces in the first half, with Sa'sha Kershaw scoring on a free kick and Larissa Nysch putting home a header off a corner kick.
- It is the fifth time in the last six years Stony Brook has advanced to the semifinal round, with the team's last championship appearance coming in 2008. The Seawolves have never brought home the title.
- Stony Brook beat Maine, 5-1, in the regular-season meeting. Nysch had a pair of goals while Raven Edwards, Taryn Schoenbeck and Aley Leonardi also added tallies.
- The Black Bears earned their first quarterfinal round bye since 2005. Maine last made a trip to the semifinals in 2010, when the team advanced to the title game and lost to Boston U.
- Maine boasts America East Rookie of the Year Charlene Achille, who has anchored the midfield all season.
No. 6 Stony Brook 2, No. 3 New Hampshire 1
Stony Brook scored a pair of goals off set pieces in the first half and held on to upset No. 3 seed New Hampshire, 2-1, in Durham, N.H., on Thursday afternoon.
The Seawolves took an early 1-0 lead when Sa'sha Kershaw cashed in on a free kick following a hand ball on New Hampshire. Kershaw fired a low shot that deflected off a Wildcat defender and went into the left-side netting in the eighth minute.
New Hampshire had a chance to tie the game less than a minute later after a handball in the box by Stony Brook gave the Wildcats a penalty kick. Meghan Ledwith took the shot for New Hampshire, but was denied by a diving save by Stony Brook keeper Ashley Castanio.
Castanio made nine saves in the game, including four huge stops in the second half.
The Seawolves extended their lead midway through the first half, scoring off another set piece as Stella Norman found Larissa Nysch for a header on the far post off a corner kick that made it 2-0 Stony Brook in the 22nd minute.
The Wildcats would get one back before the break. Drea Nogueira found Jenna Shaddock down the right sideline who crossed it into the box, finding Tara Fraprie for a one-time finish to cut the deficit to 2-1 just before halftime.
New Hampshire put the pressure on in the second half, but could not find a way to even the game. Castanio made four stops, and the Wildcats hit the crossbar twice along with the post once.
Kirstyn Corder hit the crossbar on a deep blast in the 62nd minute, and then Corder and Ledwith were both denied on shots during a scramble in front of the net in the 74th minute. New Hampshire outshot the Seawolves, 27-12, in the contest.
The Seawolves move on to play No. 2 seed Maine in Orono on Sunday at 1 p.m. It is the fifth trip in the last six years to the semifinals for Stony Brook.
No. 4 at Vermont 1, No.
5 Albany 1 (2OT)
Vermont advances on penalty kicks, 3-2
In a rematch of last year's overtime thriller, Vermont and Albany went to overtime once again, this time with the Catamounts coming out on top in penalty kicks in Burlington, Vt., on Thursday afternoon.
The win sends Vermont to its first America East semifinal since the tournament expanded to six teams in 2001.
Albany struck first, taking a, 1-0, lead just two minutes into the contest on a goal by Aubrey Van Gorder, assisted by Shayla Bergeron.
The Great Danes took the one goal lead into halftime, but Vermont responded with a game-tying goal just two minutes into the second half. Bre Pletnik had the talley on an assist from Haley Marks.
Neither team could breakthrough for the rest of regulation or either overtime, sending the game into penalty kicks.
Albany's Krista Fitzpatrick and Vermont's Pletnik each converted on the first shot for each team. The Catamounts took a one-goal advantage after the second round, as Marks converted on her kick.
Neither team converted their next two, giving Vermont a, 2-1, lead heading into the final kicks. Casey Marks evened the game at, 2-2, converting on the fifth kick for the Great Danes. But it was Midori Eckenstein who scored on the final kick for the Catamounts to give Vermont the 3-2 penalty kick win.
Vermont will travel to take on No. 1 seed Hartford on Sunday at 1 p.m.