November 3, 2012
Hofstra women stop William & Mary on penalties, reach CAA final
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Hofstra goalkeeper Emily Morphitis fell to the turf as she corralled the green soccer ball. The rest of her teammates rushed the field to celebrate with her after she snared Nicole Baxter's fourth-round shootout attempt, securing Hofstra's spot in the championship game on Friday night.
Hofstra advanced past William & Mary on penalty kicks in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals at Albert-Daly Field.
Morphitis (London, England) made three saves and made two additional stops in the penalty kick phase as the fifth-seeded Pride officially tied top-seeded William and Mary, 0-0, before taking the shootout, 4-2. Hofstra will oppose third-seeded UNC Wilmington in the championship game here at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Sam Scolarici, Jeannine Molleda, Anya Koren and Brooke Bendernagel converted their attempts for Hofstra (10-8-2). William and Mary goalkeeper Caroline Casey made 10 saves for the Tribe (14-5-1).
All four games in the CAA Tournament have been decided by penalty kicks. Hofstra advanced in the shootout for a second straight game after moving past Northeastern last week. UNC Wilmington tied Drexel, 1-1, before moving on in the shootout in the other semifinal contest earlier in the evening.
Scolarici (Aldie, Va.) registered two shots of her team-high five-shots after regulation, including a hard; high shot to the left side that Casey stopped with a leaping save side with barely more than three minutes left in the second extratime. That marked the last legitimate scoring chance of the period before the contest went into penalty kicks.
Hofstra, which held a 14-9 shot advantage, scored on each of its penalty kick attempts. Scolarici, who also scored in the shootout against Northeastern, opened the scoring on Hofstra's first shot with goal to the low left side. After William and Mary also scored on their first shot, Molleda (Clifton, Va.) gave Hofstra 2-1 edge to start the second round.
Ali Heck evened the shootout after the second round before Koren (Scottsdale, AZ.) snuck in a shot at the left post for a 3-2 lead.
Morphitis then made a diving save on Cortlyn Bristol's third-round attempt.
Bendernagel (Smithtown, N.Y.) gave Hofstra two-goal cushion in the fourth-round with a goal to the left side. Morphitis blanked Baxter to put Hofstra in the final. The Pride has won the CAA championship twice before, with the last title coming in 2007.
Before the game went into extratime, the Tribe tried to take the lead in regulation by surging out of the halftime break when it generated two quality chances in the 47th minute. Morphitis raced out of the net to cut off Bristol's angle, blocking a hard shot from the right side of the box. Mallory Schaffer, named the CAA's player of the year on Thursday, got to the rebound but Bendernagel blocked the second chance attempt.
Freshman Jill Mulholland (Levittown, N.Y.) used a fine individual move to post Hofstra's first shot-on-goal of the second half when she tried to dribble past three defenders before pushing in a low shot that Casey saved near the right post in the 63rd minute.
Morphitis made a diving save near the left post on Emory Camper's left-footed shot with 2:20 left in regulation.
Hofstra enjoyed a greater possession advantage in the first extratime than the second half, recording three shots on goal in the first 10-minute extra session. The Pride nearly scored the golden goal when sophomore Lulu Echeverry (East Meadow, N.Y.) stole the ball and passed to freshman Jeannine Molleda, who delivered a low shot that Casey snared in the 96th minute. Less than a minute later, Casey also saved Scolarici's shot.
William and Mary defeated Hofstra, 3-2, in two extratimes almost two weeks ago in the regular season matchup and the two sides again proved to be evenly matched opponents with a scoreless first half.
Hofstra utilized a short bench through the opening half, using just one sub. But the starters provided tight defensive coverage, limiting William and Mary to a single shot on goal at the half. Freshman Leah Galton (Harrogate, England), who won the CAA's rookie of the year, played back and helped the Pride limit the Tribe to three on-target shots in 110 minutes.
The Pride registered three shots in the opening half, including Scolarici's header in the 13th minute that Casey saved. Hofstra had its best scoring chance in the 25th minute when freshman Chloe Dale (Birmingham, United Kingdom) drew a foul just outside the box, setting up a free kick that sophomore Caylin Dudley (Grasonville, Md.) sent high.