Oct. 29, 2006
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (October 29, 2006) - Senior Leslie Morales (Cortlandt Manor, NY) scored the game-winner and senior Ashley Mocarski (Stratford, CT) made five saves to preserve the shutout as the Sacred Heart Pioneers qualified for their sixth-straight trip to the Northeast Conference Tournament with a 1-0 win over Robert Morris Sunday afternoon. With wind gusts blowing at 30 mph, the Pioneers won their third-straight game in the regular season finale and finish as the #4 seed in next weekend's playoffs.
The Pioneers (6-12-1, 5-3-1 NEC) controlled the flow of action for much of the first half, out shooting Robert Morris 10-2 over the first 45 minutes. SHU had two solid scoring chances in the first four minutes of action and nearly knocked one in the 18th minute when junior Allison Rojas (Manorville, NY) scooted up the left sideline and sent a cross to the near post where teammate Lisa Burbige (Babylon, NY) made a run and got her head on the ball but just missed wide.
SHU finally broke through in the 24th minute on a great individual effort by Morales. The senior forward collected a ball near midfield and broke away from the pack down the left flank. She beat her defender and had a wide open look at 15 yards out. She curved a beautiful arching shot that tucked inside the top right corner of the goal to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead. It was Morales's second goal on the season and her first game-winner.
The Colonials (6-13-0, 2-7 NEC) turned their offensive pressure up a few notches in the second half and put five of their seven shots on goal. Robert Morris nearly tied the game in the 64th minute when a cross was played right in front to Chelsea Miazgowicz right in front where she line up a shot, point blank. Mocarski guessed right and was able to punch the ball away right ending the Robert Morris threat.
Robert Morris got one last good look in the 78th minute but again Mocarski sent them away empty handed. The Colonials countered off a SHU free kick and quickly got the ball up field. A long cross was played toward the box across the field where Kathryn Kirkpatrick collected and shot toward the near post where Mocarski scooped up her attempt and once again ended hopes of overtime.
The Pioneers finished with a 14-9 advantage on shots and a 3-2 edge on corners. Before today's game, SHU honored their five graduating seniors in a brief ceremony. Seniors Morales, Burbige, Mocarski, Randie Quaglia (Manchester, CT) and Kaitlyn Franzese (Rockville Centre, NY) all played their final home game on Sunday.
SHU will join Long Island, Monmouth and Central Connecticut in the four team field tournament next weekend. The semifinals are slated for Friday, November 3rd with the championship game on Sunday, November 5th. All games will be played at the site of the highest seed.
Two weeks ago, the Pioneers were on the outside looking in when it came to the NEC Tournament after a 3-0 loss at Fairleigh Dickinson. Sacred Heart rallied with a 2-2 tie at CCSU and has rattled off wins over Quinnipiac, Saint Francis and Robert Morris to extend their streak to six-straight playoff appearances, the longest such streak in the league.