MIDDLEBURY, Vermont – Misericordia teammates Caitlyn Boyle and Meghan Antrim connected on goals as they both helped propel the #10 Cougars to a 2-0 triumph over Lesley in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament this afternoon at Middlebury's Dragone Field.
The Cougars (18-2-1), who earn their second-ever NCAA Tournament victory in their sixth appearance, run their winning streak to 10 consecutive games. They will take on the #10 Panthers tomorrow at 1:30 in the regional final. With the defeat, the Lynx slip to 16-3-2 with the setback in their first NCAA Tournament berth.
In the first 10 minutes both squads had opportunities to score the contest's first goal.
Misericordia's Sami Ritter had an open look from 15-yards away in the middle of the field, but her attempt rang the crossbar in the fourth minute. Later, Misericordia's Lauren Rooney's long shot from the right side of the box bounced off of the right post.
Roney, however, redeemed herself in the 37th minute when she dribbled the ball from midfield and found a Boyle open in front of the net. Boyle then took the short pass and finished for her second marker of the season. The helper for Roney, was her team-best 11th this season as she also became the school's all-time leader in assists.
After much back and forth play most of the second period, Misericordia went up 2-0 in the 69th minute when the Cougars found another hole in Lesley's back line.
Nicolette Hansel booted a long pass from the 35-yardline to Antrim, who made a move past the keeper and knocked in her 10th tally of the campaign.
Feeling the pressure, the Lynx did everything they could to get back into the game in the final 10 minutes as they had a 3-0 edge in shots and a pair of corners.
The best bid was a shot on goal by Alexis Giusti from close range in the 85th minute, but the laser beam was snared in midair by Misericordia's Maureen Ciccosanti.
Ciccosanti ended the contest turning aside all six shots she saw on net and she logged her ninth shutout of the season. Ciccosanti had entered the tournament fifth in the NCAA Division III in save percentage with a stellar .914 clip.
Misericordia finished with the slight 16-14 advantage in shots (8-6 on goal) while the two squads were even in corners (2-2). The contest also proved to be a physical one as they combined for 28 fouls.