Tara Sobierajski's free kick sends the Saints to the semifinals
Nov. 1, 2013
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. - Brittany Pfaff and Tara Sobierajski scored less than four minutes apart midway through the second half as sixth seeded Siena Women's Soccer rallied past No. 3 seed Iona 2-1 in the MAAC Quarterfinals at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex.
Siena (11-8-1), which advances to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2010, will face second seed Fairfield Sunday at 2 p.m. in a match that will be broadcast on ESPN3. The Stags avoided a major upset in their quarterfinals matchup, winning 4-2 on penalty kicks against 10th seeded Manhattan after having played 110 minutes of scoreless action.
It was a tale of two halves as Iona (7-8-4) controlled the first 45 minutes, out-shooting the Saints 9-2. Nicole Paulucci scored in the 37th minute, giving the Gaels a 1-0 lead at the break.
But in the second half, Iona, which received a first round bye, surprisingly appeared to wear down more than the resilient Saints who were on their second day of playing in the unforgiving Florida heat. Siena turned the tables, out-shooting Iona 9-1 in the final stanza.
In the 65th minute Taylor D'Alfonso centered a ball to her fellow senior captain Pfaff who knotted the score. Pfaff now has MAAC-highs of 34 points and 14 goals this season, putting her just shy of former teammate Ashleigh Barone's single-season program records of 15 goals and 35 points in 2008. Pfaff also moves past former teammate Caitlin Cahalan for sole possession of fifth place on the program's all-time scoring charts with 70 career points.
The Saints second half aggression continued to pay off as a foul on Iona 10 yards outside the box moments later set up a free kick. Sobierajski fired low and to the left, tucking the ball inside the far post as the comeback was complete for Siena.
Taylor Booth made three of her four saves in the first half to keep Siena close early. Trista Rivera made two saves in a losing effort for Iona.
Following a scheduled off day at the MAAC Championships Saturday, the Saints take on the Stags Sunday with a berth in the MAAC Championship match on the line. The Stags shutout the Saints 3-0 in the first meeting between the teams Oct. 23 in Loudonville.