Resilient Pioneers Down Hartford in Home Opener

Resilient Pioneers Down Hartford in Home Opener

FAIRFIELD, Conn.— The Sacred Heart women's soccer team tallied two goals in the final eight minutes to erase a 1-0 deficit and defeat Hartford, 2-1 on Thursday afternoon. Junior captain Alex Mesropyan capped the comeback effort with the game winning header on the corner kick from fellow captain Danielle Karpiej in the 88th minute.

After opening the season with five road games the Pioneers (2-4-0) christened the new Park Avenue Field with a thrilling victory. The Hawks (1-4-1) controlled the game in the first half, outshooting the Pioneers 10-3. After a back & forth start to the second 45, the Hawks caught a break in the 67th minute as Sierra Stone picked up a deflection in the middle of the box. She dribbled to the right side and fired one to the back-left corner of the net for the 1-0 tally.

SHU didn't falter on its home turf, catching a break in the 82nd minute on the attack as junior Melanie DaSilva delivered a lead pass to classmate Maranda Gibbons who tied things up at 1-1 with her boot from the left side of the goal. The momentum continued to swing in the Pioneers favor with three corner kicks in a two-minute span. The third and final attempt from Karpiej was able to find Mesropyan in stride to put a header into the back-left corner of the goal for the game winning score. The goal was Mesropyan's second of the season, while Gibbons picked up her first tally of the season. DaSilva & Karpiej both recorded their first assists of the year. 

In the game, Hartford controlled the shots 18-8. Six of SHU's eight shot attempts were on goal. Maia Perez made four saves for Hartford, junior goalkeeper Nicole Sambuco recorded a season-high eight saves in goal for the Pioneers.

The Pioneers travel to Columbia on Sunday, September 10 at 1:00 p.m.

First Half 

  • Sambuco with back-to-back stops in the 8th minute to start the game.
  • DaSilva looked for Gibbons with a cross into the box 10 minutes into the contest but were unable to connect.
  • DaSilva had two scoring chances in the first half knocked down by Perez.

Second Half

  • Freshman Emily Rosso had an excellent shot on goal from the right side but was denied by a diving stop from Perez.
  • Pioneers were held without with for much of the second half till Gibbons' goal at 81:56.
  • Mesropyan was able to connect on the header to back left corner of the net to give SHU its first home opening victory since 2014.