VCU, WILLIAM & MARY ADVANCE TO CAA WOMEN'S SOCCER TITLE GAME
#2 VCU 1, #6 Northeastern 0
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (November 4, 2011) – Senior Meaghan Dullea’s header off a corner kick in the 49th minute gave second-seeded VCU a 1-0 victory over #6 Northeastern in the first semifinal match of the 2011 Virginia 529 CAA Women’s Soccer Championship Friday night at Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field in Williamsburg, Va.
The Rams (9-7-4) advance to the CAA championship game for the first time since 2007, where they will face the winner of tonight’s second semifinal between William & Mary and Delaware at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Northeastern finished its season with a 9-10-2 mark.
After a scoreless opening half, VCU grabbed control of the match early in the second period. The Rams took four consecutive corner kicks in the first four minutes and finally broke through. Freshman Cristin Granados, the CAA Rookie of the Year, lofted a perfectly placed ball from the left corner to Dullea near the right post, and she headed it into the back of the net from five yards out for a 1-0 VCU advantage. It was Dullea’s fourth goal of the season.
“I wasn’t thinking, I just went for it,” said Dullea of the game-winning goal. “I was focused on getting a good, solid connection on the ball.”
The goal was part of a dominant second-half performance for VCU, which took the first 16 shots in the period while limiting to NU to just one shot over the final 45 minutes. The Rams finished the game with a 24-6 shot advantage.
“The difference between the first and second half, honestly, was that Northeastern ran out of gas,” said VCU co-head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak. “They battled hard, but playing back-to-back games took its toll. In the second half, we got to play our game, control the ball and get more opportunities. I was very proud of our team’s performance.”
The Rams kept the pressure on after taking the 1-0 lead as freshman Maren Johansen hit the left post from 20 yards out in the 58th minute. Just two minutes later, sophomore Courtney Conrad got behind Huskies’ goalkeeper Paige Burnett in the box, but her 10-yard shot was deflected away by NU defender Sandra Magnusdottir.
VCU extended its unbeaten streak to 10 with the victory and continued its strong defensive play. Rams’ junior goalkeeper Kristin Carden made five saves to record her ninth shutout of the season, eight of which have come during the unbeaten streak.
Burnett did an outstanding job in net for Northeastern, with several of her eight saves coming on one-one chances.
Northeastern took five shots in the first half and nearly got on the board in the 26th minute. Senior Veronica Napoli slid a pass across the box to junior Greta Samuelsdottir, who hit the left post with a 15-yard shot from the right side.
Conrad finished with a team-high five shots for VCU, with three of them going on net.
#1 William & Mary 2, #4 Delaware 1
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (November 4, 2011) – William & Mary junior Mallory Schaffer, the CAA Player of the Year, scored two goals as the top-seeded Tribe rallied for a 2-1 victory over #4 Delaware in the second semifinal match of the 2011 Virginia 529 CAA Women’s Soccer Championship Friday night at Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field in Williamsburg, Va.
The win sends William & Mary (16-2-2) into the CAA championship game against #2 VCU at 1 p.m. on Sunday. It’s the first trip to the finals for the Tribe since 2004. Delaware, which was playing in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament for the first time since 2005, finished its season with a 10-7-4 mark.
William & Mary scored the game-winning goal on a beautiful play in the 65th minute. Sophomore Dani Rutter passed the ball across the box to Erin Liberatore on the left side. The junior forward hit a left-footed shot past a charging Stemler and Schaffer came sliding in to finish the play from five yards out. It was the league-leading 16th goal of the season for Schaffer and her fifth game-winner.
“Dani made a great run and found Erin wide open,” said Schaffer of the game-winning goal. “She mishit her shot a little bit and I was just following the shot and got the tap in.”
Delaware came out aggressively and took a 1-0 lead just 7:45 into the match. Leigh Victory dribbled the ball into the box from the right side and slid a pass to junior Ali Miller, who one-timed a shot just inside the right post. It was the team-leading 14th goal of the year for Miller, who tied a Blue Hens’ single season record with the score.
Delaware finished the first half with an 8-2 advantage in shots, but William & Mary quickly changed the momentum in the second period. In the 51st minute, Tribe senior Diana Weigel took a 20-yard free kick that was blocked by Blue Hens’ keeper Breanna Stemler, but Schaffer controlled the rebound near the right post and put in the net to tie the contest at 1-1.
The Tribe kept the pressure on as Schaffer’s left-footed shot from the top of the penalty box was punched over the crossbar by Stemler in the 59th minute, and Stemler was able to make a finger-tip save on a Weigel 35-yard shot in the 62nd minute. W&M recorded the game-winner just three minutes later.
“We needed to get a little tighter and play a little quicker,” W&M head coach John Daly said. “The second half we were completely in command. It was a tremendous improvement from the first half.”
The Tribe out-shot UD 12-4 in the second half and finished with a 14-12 shot edge for the match. Stemler made seven of her eight saves in the second half to help keep the Hens in the match, while Katherine Yount stopped two shots in the first half for W&M.
VCU defeated the Tribe 1-0 during their regular-season matchup on October 23, which was W&M’s only CAA loss of the season.
W&M has won a league-record nine CAA Tournament championships under Daly, but the last one came in 2003. The Tribe fell to the Rams 3-1 in the 2004 championship game, which gave VCU its only CAA title.
“It’s been seven years and I’ve missed it,” Daly said. “It ain’t over yet and we’ve still got something to achieve.”