Women’s soccer comes up short during underdog run

Hunter O. Lyle Sports Editor

In the most dramatic of fashions, Southern’s women’s soccer team was unable to cap off their playoff push for an NE10 banner, coming up short in the championship finals and losing to the College of Saint Rose 3-2.

The Owls barely squeaked into the NE10 playoffs in the first place, qualifying with a 8-6-4 record after a draw against Stonehill College on Nov. 5. However, since then, the team went on the longest NE10 playoff drive in nearly 20 years, reaching the finals for the second time in program history. Here’s how the road to the finals looked for the Owls:

Quarterfinals versus Stonehill College:

After seeing them in the last game of the season and leaving the score unsettled with a 1-1 draw, Southern was more than familiar with the Skyhawks. While they might have come in with a better regular season record (11-3-4 – ranked second in the NE10), Stonehill College was unable to stop Southern’s playoff momentum, losing 1-0. Defender Amanda Dustin, a sophomore, scored the only goal of the game, her
first career goal, off a free kick in the 74th minute, sending the Owls to the semifinals for the first time since 2008.

Semifinals versus American International College:

The Owls and the Yellowjackets boasted similar records at the end of the final season — AIC finished sixth in the NE10 and Southern seventh — so this game came with the sense of competition. However, the Owls defense stood strong as they were able to once again shutout their playoff opponent and win on the road 1-0. This marks senior goalkeeper Allie Smith’s ninth shutout of the season, the most in a single season since 2008, when Katie DiDio had 10. This victory also sent the Owls to the finals, a place they had only ever been once before in program history.

Championship Finals versus the College of Saint Rose:

In the NE10, Saint Rose is the team to beat. Not only had the Golden Knights only been beaten twice throughout the season and held the top spot in the NE10 rankings, in the first two games of the tournament they scored a combined seven
points. If Southern wanted to reign dominant over the NE10, they would have to go through Saint Rose.

The Owls came out of the gates hot, with midfielder Kaitlyn D’Amico, a sophomore, scoring her sixth goal of the season in the first 10 minutes. The two teams then battled it out for a stretch, before Saint Rose scored off a penalty kick that snuck past Smith in the 54th minute. The game was notched at one-apiece for six minutes, when the Golden Knights struck again, giving them a 2-1 lead.

The game was still closely fought, with both teams fighting for possessions. Defender Paula Nunez, a graduate student, tied the game once again with a deep shot that found the topleft corner. With the game once again tied, both teams on even footing, the battle for a Championship was on, and so was the clock.

n, and so was the clock. With just ten seconds remaining in the second half, overtime just over the horizon, the Golden Knights scored off a cross: a header that sent the ball bouncing through the crowd and into the net.

Despite making it to the Finals for the first time since 2000, the Owls could not fend off the top ranked team in the NE10, the new champions, the College of Saint Rose.

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