March 30, 2012

Pioneers Fall 9-7 to Monmouth Despite Keenan's 17 Saves

FAIRFIELD, CT (March 30, 2012) - Sacred Heart freshman Kelly Keenan (Wantagh, NY) turned in a season-high 17 saves but Monmouth held the Pioneers to just 14 shots on the way to a 9-7 Northeast Conference win Friday afternoon on Campus Field.  The Pioneers got three goals from senior Katilin Rochler (Wading River, NY) while junior Emily Pepe (East Quogue, NY) dished out four assists in the loss.

Monmouth (3-8, 2-1 NEC) out shot SHU 33-14 and forced 18 Pioneer turnovers while scooping up 27 grounders in the win.  The Pioneers struggled all afternoon on the clear, finishing just 10-of-18, including five failed clears in the second half.  MU got two goals apiece Alex Marino, Sam Lillo, Sam Savona and Allison Stathius on the afternoon.

Marino struck for the game's first two goals, scoring on an 8-meter attempts at 25:14 and again unassisted at 22:38.  SHU's Pepe got the Pioneer offense kick-started just 27 seconds later and set up her team's first three goals.  Pepe found Rochler for her first at 22:11 and then fed senior Aurelie Pluijmakers (Freehold, NJ) to tie it at 18:59.

Lillo scored her first just 53 seconds later but the Pioneers took their first lead thanks to some solid play in the draw circle.  After winning the draw off Lillo's goal, sophomore Kelsey Russo (Lindenhurst, NY) buried a Pepe pass to tie it at 3-3 at 17:02.  SHU freshman Brianna Schussler (Wantagh, NY) took the ensuing draw and senior Kate Kmiotek (Farmingville, NY) found Rochler just 15 seconds later for a 4-3 lead.

Monmouth knotted it back it up as Savona scored her first, finishing a pass from Olivia Salata at 11:51.  The Pioneers went back up thanks to the Kmiotek to Rochler combo at 7:52 but Monmouth finished the half out with Lillo's second for a 5-5 game at the break.  Monmouth got off 17 shots to SHU's eight in the first half but nine saves by Keenan kept the game within reach for the Pioneers.

The Hawks opened the second half taking advantage of a man-up opportunity that came on a Samantha Villafranca (Wading River, NY) yellow card with 1:04 left in the first half.  Savona posted the man-up goal just 20 seconds into play in the second half to lead 6-5.  Russo tied it back up at 17:36 with an 8-meter goal.  The Hawks took the lead once again at 13:45 on an Allison Stathius marker, unassisted.

The Pioneers produced the game's sixth tie just over two minutes later as Pepe hit Pluijmakers for her second of the game and her fourth assist.  Stathius provided what would be the game-winner at 6:30, scoring off a feed from Meaghan Hess, capitalizing on a Sacred Heart failed clear.

SHU won the ensuing draw but Monmouth goalie Katie Donohue came up with a pair of saves on the possession, turing away Alyssa Dorsey (Farmingdale, NY) and Kmiotek.  The Hawks cleared the loose ball and successfully ran off 2:18 before Salata tacked on an insurance goal with 1:48 left.  Russo won the draw and the Pioneers got off a shot with 1:21 left but Donohue again stoned the Pioneers and the Hawks ran off the final 1:18 to seal the win.  Donohue made just five saves in the win, but all three of her second half stops came after the Hawks took the lead for good at 8-7.

The Pioneers will be back in action and at home on Sunday afternoon when Mount St. Mary's comes to Campus Field for a 1:00 pm start.

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