WORCHESTER, MA – The Iona College women’s soccer program fell to the hands of the Holy Cross Crusaders by a final of 3-1 to open up the 2016 campaign. A series of quick succession scores game the home Crusaders a second-half lead that they’d hold onto despite a quick rally late in the second half from the Maroon & Gold.
The first shot of the game came off the foot of Holy Cross junior Caitlin Hardy; her strike forced junior Gaels goalkeeper to make her first save in net. Iona’s best scoring chance in the first half came at 11:42; junior forward Charlotte Stuart put a shot on goal, the lone such effort in the opening 45 minutes.
The Crusaders held a 6-2 shots advantage heading into the halftime locker room. Junior Tiffany Ramirez made two saves in the first half to keep the score knotted at zero at the break.
Holy Cross got on the board just 3:55 into the second half with a net-finder from Hardy. The opening goal of the season for the Worchester located institution was soon followed by another score; junior Allie Neuman scored an assisted goal at 51:45 to give Holy Cross a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Lily Puccia assisted on Hardy’s goal.
Iona put pressure on midway through the second half, and its relentlessness led to a goal at 69:54 by junior defensemen Christine Rebus. Using her head to nudge a long distance header in from long-distance, Rebus’s score was aided well by a throw-in assist from Stuart. Trying to mirror Holy Cross’s quick two goal strike, sophomoreMegan Wood nearly tied the Gaels up when she had a shot ring off the post at the 71 minute mark.
Holy Cross would add an insurance goal with 10:38 to go; sophomore Andj Sesliga found the back of the net via a helper from junior Kara Shaw.
The Maroon & Gold were on the defensive most of the game, facing 14 shots and five corner attempts from the Crusaders. Iona had five shots and five corner attempts of its own. Martinez made four saves minding the net for the Gaels.
First year Head Coach Sarah Brady will lead the Gaels into action this Sunday, Aug. 21, against Bryant in Smithtown, RI. Kickoff between the Gaels and Bulldogs is set for 1:00 PM.