When and Where: November 10, 2017 – Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. (Mercy Field)
Score: Southern New Hampshire University 3, Georgian Court University 0
Records: SNHU 15-2-5, GCU 16-4-2
After scoring the first goal of last Sunday's match to lead the program to its second Northeast-10 title, junior Miranda Peloquin (Greenville, R.I.) did it again on frigid and windy Friday afternoon, staking the third-seeded and 24th-ranked Southern New Hampshire University women's soccer team to an early advantage, as it rolled to a 3-0 NCAA first round victory against sixth-seeded Georgian Court University at Mercy College's Mercy Field, to claim the program's first ever NCAA Tournament win.
Southern New Hampshire will now take a day off before battling host Mercy on Sunday at noon in an NCAA second round tilt. The second-seeded Mavericks, who lost to the Penmen, 2-1, on their home turf back on Oct. 25, have been off since capturing the East Coast Conference title last Saturday after earning a first-round bye.
Elsewhere in the East Region on Friday, fourth-seeded Long Island University-LIU Post was a 2-0 winner over fifth-seeded Franklin Pierce University at Adelphi University's Motamed Field. The Pioneers will face top-seeded Adelphi on Sunday, with the winner of that match meeting the SNHU-Mercy victor at the highest remaining seed on Nov. 17.
The match's first dangerous chance came in the third minute when Georgian Court sent a ball in down the right flank and senior goalkeeper Paige Salmon (W. Hempstead, N.Y.) came out to get it, but the Lions reached it first and sent it toward the front of the net before it was eventually cleared.
Southern New Hampshire had an opportunity of its own in the sixth minute off a corner service from the left by senior Courtney Benson (Hopkinton, Mass.), but the header try on the near side of the box by junior Ariana Silvia (Brockton, Mass.) went just wide.
The Penmen looked like they were going to go in front, 1-0, in the 13th minute when sophomore Emily Roan (Bridgewater, Mass.) sent a shot toward an open net from the right, but a Georgian Court defender was able to clear it off the goal line to keep it scoreless.
It was then the Lions' turn late in the 18th minute, as their leading scorer, Anissia Fucci, drove a shot across the box from the right, but Salmon planted and dove, fully extending to her right and snatching the ball as she came off the turf.
The terrific save would pay off less than a minute later, as Southern New Hampshire cashed in the first goal of the match when senior Trisha Luis (Lowell, Mass.) dropped a short pass in the middle of the box for Peloquin, who booted the ball under the crossbar to make it 1-0.
Georgian Court made a bid for the equalizer late in the 23rd minute on Heather Arbachesky's corner service from the right, but the header from the left side of box by Erin Wimmer sailed just over the crossbar.
The Penmen doubled their lead in the 33rd minute on the first career goal for junior Shannon Valente (Windham, Maine). Freshman Allyson Patterson (Seekonk, Mass.) carried the ball from outside the top of the box toward the left before dropping it for Valente, who turned and lofted a bending shot that curled just inside the far post to make it 2-0.
Southern New Hampshire made it 3-0 late in the 58th minute when junior Jenna Fitzgerald (Upton, Mass.) delivered a free kick from the left into the middle of the box, placing it behind the Georgian Court defense for Patterson, who took one touch and punched it into the back of the net.
Salmon stopped all four shots that came her way, while Natalie Axelsson made five saves for the Lions.
- Southern New Hampshire earns its first NCAA Tournament win in its fourth appearance in the Big Dance, going one-and-done with an overall record of 0-2-1 in its previous three appearances.
- The 15 victories now match the 1997 squad (15-4-0) for the sixth highest number of wins in a single season in program history.
- The win derailed the 15-match unbeaten streak (14-0-1) of Georgian Court, which had won 10 straight and had not suffered a loss since Sept. 14.
- The Penmen have lost just once in their last 19 matches (14-1-5).
- Peloquin's goal was her fifth of the season and 10th of her career. Valente's strike was the first of her career, while Patterson's was the fourth of her rookie campaign.
- Salmon's shutout was her 12th of the season and the 17th clean sheet of her career.
- Southern New Hampshire is now 19-4-5, dating back to Oct. 15 of last season.
- The Penmen are outscoring their opponents, 39-12, on the season.
- Southern New Hampshire outshot Georgian Court, 12-10, including 7-5 in the opening frame, while corner kicks were even at 3-3.
- SNHU is now outshooting its opponents, 391-179, on the season.
The Penmen return to action Sunday, Nov. 12 (12 p.m.) when they take on Mercy in second round action.
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