Soccer Edged from GNAC Tournament
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Carolyn Berndt (Trumbull, Conn.) put in the clinching penalty kick for Simmons against the University of Saint Joseph after a scoreless game at the University of Hartford Thursday as Simmons advanced to the GNAC soccer championship game.
Simmons advanced by winning the penalty kick shootout, 4-2.
The result – statistically recorded as a tie -- leaves Saint Joseph at 14-2-2 and Simmons at 11-7-1. Saint Joseph reached a GNAC semifinal for the fifth consecutive year and was hoping to reach its first championship game. The Blue Jays won their first regular-season title and were the tournament's No. 1 seed. No. 4 Simmons will play at No. 2 Lasell Saturday in the final. Lasell beat Emmanuel 4-0 in Thursday's other semifinal.
"Congratulations to Simmons, that was a very, very good game, a hard game, a game neither team deserved to lose," Saint Joseph coach Chris LeGates said. "That's a tough, tough way to lose. In some ways, that should have been a final. It doesn't diminish what we accomplished this season. We'll take a couple days off and hope that post-season is in our future."
Saint Joseph probably had the two best chances to score during the 110 minutes of field action. Patricia Nolan (Portland, Conn.) slid a shot across the goalmouth in the first half that narrowly missed the far post. And with two minutes left in the second overtime, Katie Mirabella (Seymour, Conn.) hit the near post with the potential game-winner.
Both teams scored with their first two penalty kicks as Nicole Mendelson (Southbury, Conn.) and Mirabella made good for the Blue Jays and Keri Acheson (Peabody, Mass.) and Justine Beauchamp (Exeter, N.H.) scored for Simmons. Goalkeeper Briana Hayes (Manorville, N.Y.) made a big save for Simmons and Kristyn Heuslein (Manchester, N.H.) followed with a goal to stake the Sharks to a 3-2 edge in the five-round shootout. After a USJ shot was missed, Berndt knocked in the clincher, negating the final round of kicks.
USJ had outshot Simmons, 17-10 and had more shots on goal, 13-7. Hayes had 12 saves and Melissa Dodge (Watertown, Conn.) made seven stops for the Blue Jays.