Fairfield, CT—On a cold and windy Friday night at Campus Field, the Sacred Heart Pioneers women's soccer team kept the dream of making the NEC playoffs for the first time since 2007 alive, with a thrilling 2-1 victory against the Monmouth Hawks.
The Pioneers had their first chance to score when Elizabeth Stewart (Seaford, NY) and Ashley Moore (Levittown, NY) each had shots within eight seconds of each other, both were unsuccessful. The next chance for the Pioneers came on two consecutive shots from Jillian Picinich (Bellmore, NY), both of which were blocked.
The Pioneer defense led the charge for most of the first half, not allowing a Monmouth shot until 3:24 remaining in the half. The Pioneers went on to out shoot Monmouth 16-2 in the first half.
Unfortunately for the Pioneers, Monmouth's second shot of the game put them up 1-0 when Stacey Kadell found the back of the net on a cross from Alexa Freguletti, which would be all of the scoring in the first half.
It did not take long though for the Pioneers to gain momentum in the second half. Only 3:41 into the second half, Jen Mulvey (Manalapan, NJ) headed a ball straight up in the air only to be knocked by a Monmouth defender and tipped into the net by Monmouth's goalkeeper, Jocelyn McCoy.
The Pioneers would light up the scoreboard exactly a minute later, when Picinich headed a ball to Samantha Kee (Haskell, NJ), who one-timed it into the goal for her fifth of the season. This put the Pioneers up 2-1, which would be all the offense the Pioneers would need to pick up the 'W.'
The Pioneers head into the final game of the regular season on Sunday controlling their own fate in the hunt for a NEC Tournament spot. After tonight's win, SHU sits in fourth place with 16 points, a point in front of Robert Morris for the final spot. Saint Francis-PA (22 pts), Long Island (21 pts) and Monmouth (18 pts) have all clinched spots in the playoffs. The Pioneers will host Mount St. Mary's at 12 noon and will clinch a spot with a victory over the Mountaineers. If SHU and the Mount tie, the Pioneers will need Robert Morris to either tie or lose to Long Island to clinch the last spot. If the Pioneers fall to the Mount they can still clinch the final tournament berth with a Robert Morris loss to LIU.