WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team dropped its regular-season finale to Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) rival Albertus Magnus College (AMC), 2-0, on the road Wednesday night, under the lights on Celentano Field.
The Falcons improve to 8-7-1 (5-6-1 GNAC), while the Blue Jays dip to 10-6-1 and 5-6-1 in league play. The result added an even further complication to the bottom half of the GNAC standings, with five teams finishing in a tie for sixth place (USJ, AMC, Colby-Sawyer, Regis and Norwich). In the end, based on several tiebreakers, the Blue Jays went from sixth to seventh, and will now face two-seeded Saint Joseph's College (ME) in the quarterfinals of the GNAC Postseason Tournament, held at 12:00 or 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 2. In doing so, this marks the 20th consecutive season that women's soccer has qualified for the playoffs (eight teams make it), extending the all-time school record for longest postseason streak by any USJ team.
Quarterfinals - Saturday, November 2 (at high seeds)
Match 1: #8 Regis at #1 JWU - 4PM
Match 2: #5 Lasell at #4 Suffolk - 12PM
Match 3: #6 Albertus Magnus at #3 Emmanuel - TBD (likely 12PM)
Match 4: #7 USJ at #2 Saint Joseph's Maine - TBD (12 OR 3PM)
Semifinals - Tuesday, November 5 (at high seeds)
Match 5: #4/5 winner vs. #1/8 winner
Match 6: #3/6 winner vs. #2/7 winner
Championship - Saturday, November 9
Match 7: At highest remaining seed
- Five-way 5-6-1 record tiebreak for spots 6 thru 10: AMC, REG, NOR, USJ, CSC... Albertus was removed first as the #6 seed. Albertus & Norwich were both 2-1-1 amongst the tied teams. They tied each other. Neither beat/tied a #1-5 seed. Next tiebreak is the lowest goals in conference play (Albertus allowed 19 to Norwich's 31).
- At that point, we reset again into a four-way break. Norwich, USJ, Regis all went 2-1 against each other. In results vs top-ranked opponents, USJ gets pulled out as #7 seed for earning tie with #2 Saint Joe's (Regis tie vs #3 Emmanuel did not factor).
- Reset again to a three-way break. Amongst Norwich, Colby-Sawyer & Regis, Regis was 2-0 against those opponents to get pulled out as #8 seed.
Sophomore midfielder Haley Andrews (Prospect, Conn.) got the Falcons on the board in the 11th minute off a free kick from the right side, which landed amongst a pack of players jockeying for position. Andrews found the ball in flight, heading it into the bottom right corner of the net. Junior forward Katherine Raposo (Warwick, R.I.) added a goal and assist to what has already been an impressive 2019 season (second in GNAC in goals and points), which gave the Falcons a 2-0 first-half advantage. The second half saw AMC do all it could to minimize mistakes and prevent a comeback.
The Blue Jays held a shots advantage throughout (21-13, 9-7 on goal), but were unable to cash in. Senior captain Olivia Norton (Berlin, Conn.) had two shots early, one went wide, while the other was one of nine saves from senior goalie Cassidy Scofield (Shelton, Conn.), who picked up the win (6-7-1). Sophomore goalie Lindsey Montminy (Vernon, Conn.) was dealt the loss for USJ, allowing two goals, and saving five (9-6-1).
The Blue Jays best shot at making something happen came in a four-minute second-half stretch (70th-74th minute). After trying to score time and time again, freshman forward Maxine Muscatello (Berlin, Conn.), had a golden opportunity on the right side, sending a missile towards the cage. It ended up hitting the right post, producing a gasp from the crowd.
In the 74th minute, sophomore defender Jenna Banta (Montville, Conn.) had a great look from just a few feet from the goal off a sensational lob pass from sophomore midfielder Ali O'Neill (Litchfield, Conn.). The shot was online and headed just above Scofield, but she was able to react right in the nick of time to deflect it with the top of her hand, sending it over the crossbar and out of play.
The Falcons held serve in the final 15, pulling out the win, and in doing so, earning the six seed in the upcoming GNAC tournament. The Blue Jays dipped to the seven seed, but live to fight another day.
The Blue Jays will head more than 200 miles north to Saint Joseph's College (ME) in the GNAC Quarterfinals on Saturday, November 2 at either 12:00 or 3:00 p.m.
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