ALBANY, NY- The #14 Merrimack women's soccer team suffered a 5-1 loss to #15 Saint Rose in the Northeast-10 Conference Tournament title game Sunday afternoon.
The second-seeded Warriors drop to 16-3-1 on the season with the loss. The top-seeded Golden Knights improved to 19-1-1 overall as they claimed their fifth-straight Northeast-10 Conference Tournament crown.
Saint Rose opened the scoring in the third minute as Christina Cuffari netted her first goal of the game. Cuffari fired a long-ranged shot that found its way into the left corner of the cage.
Danielle Dion (North Grosvenordale, CT) leveled the match a 1-1 after 16 minutes of play. Katie Bresciani (Hopedale, MA) dribbled down the right wing to the endline. The rookie lobbed a cross to the front of the goal. Dion elevated and headed the ball into the net for her team-high eighth tally of the year.
In the 19th minute, the Golden Knights reclaimed the lead as Cuffari converted a penalty kick. Saint Rose was awarded the penalty kick after a Merrimack defender handled the ball on the goal line and was issued a red card.
Due to the first half ejection, the Warriors were forced to play down a player for the remainder of the match.
Saint Rose held a 14-5 edge in shots through one period of play and earned all four corner kicks rewarded in the first half.
The hosts notched their third goal of the day just 58 seconds into the second frame. Gianna D'Errico knocked in a loose ball inside the penalty box after Brittany Godin served in a cross from the right flank.
Kimberly Morton made it a three-score lead for the Golden Knights 4:37 into the second half. Morton netted her third tally of the season as she redirected a cross from Carmelina Puopolo.
Allison Schmidt closed out the scoring with her second of the year in the 68th minute. After a blocked shot bounced in Schmidt's direction, she laced a one-time shot into the back of the net to increase Saint Rose's advantage to four, 5-1.
The Golden Knights monopolized the second half offensively, registering 15 shots while holding the Warriors to zero to finish with a 29-5 gap. Merrimack earned one corner kick in the game as the home team earned 12 in the contest.
Kiley Horne (Scituate, MA) made a season-high 15 saves in the match as she endured just her third loss of the 2011 campaign.
"We did well to battle back and tie the game after they got an early one. It is always tough to play down a player, especially against a good team like Saint Rose, but I thought our team play hard all game and we had some chances at the end of the first half," said head coach Gabe Mejail.
The Warriors will wait to learn its fate as the NCAA Tournament Selection Show is scheduled to air Monday evening on www.ncaa.com. Merrimack will likely make the field by receiving an at-large berth.