LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - For the second time this season - and program history - the Saints have defeated a nationally ranked opponent. Daniel Alderstad's golden goal just over a minute into double overtime lifted the Saints to a 1-0 triumph over No. 16 Iona Sunday afternoon at Siena Turf Field.
It was a key victory and possibly a turning point in the Saints' (4-7-1, 1-3-1) season. Siena entered the match in last place in the MAAC Standings, while Iona (12-2, 5-1) had won seven straight and was sitting at the top of the conference leaderboard.
In the 102nd minute, Alderstad scored perhaps the biggest goal of the season. Sindre Ek dribbled from out of his own end down the left side of the field and sent in a deep cross to Joe Miner. Miner then sent a cross in front that was headed apparently out of trouble by Iona's Robbie Krohmer.
But instead the ball went straight into the air and Alderstad came racing full speed into the box, leapt and headed the ball past the outstretched keeper for the golden goal.
The Saints controlled the overtime session attempting all four shots and out-shot the Gaels 15-5 after halftime.
While it was just Siena's fourth win of the season, each victory has carried major importance. Earlier this season, Siena defeated then 15th ranked Ohio State after narrowly being edged at No. 18 Penn State 1-0 two days earlier. The Saints other two wins have come against a foe from a BCS conference (Syracuse) and crosstown rival UAlbany.
But beating a ranked Iona team may have been the most special of the wins. Not only did it give the Saints' a much needed first league win, but also ended a three-game losing streak against their most bitter of rivals and served as revenge for the team's MAAC Semifinal loss at the hands of the Gaels last season.
A total of 33 fouls were whistled - 21 of which went against Siena - but unlike last year's MAAC Semifinal meeting when a whopping 10 cards were issued, tempers were a bit milder this season as no cards were handed out.
The only emotion shown would be that of the Saints' following Alderstad's decisive tally.
Freshman keeper Jack Binks stopped two shots, none more important than his save on Orlando Castaneda in the 84th minute. On a free kick just outside the right of the box, Castaneda blasted a shot that was slicing away from Binks to his right. But Binks made a phenomenal sprawling save to keep the game scoreless.
For Binks it was his third clean sheet of the season as the impressive freshman lowered his goals against average to a miniscule 0.89 for the season.
Borja Barbero made four saves for Iona which also saw its eight-game MAAC winning streak halted.
Iona, which entered the day ranked No. 16 in the NSCAA Top-25 Poll, was also ranked 25th in the Soccer America Poll, 19th in the SoccerTimes.com Poll and 22nd by Goal.com.
Siena will look to carry this momentum into its next match Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. at an improved Manhattan team. The Jaspers won back-to-back games on the road in Western New York this weekend, snapping a 43-game losing streak while winning consecutive games for the first time in 10 years.