The Saints out-shot Quinnipiac 20-4, but Al Pelletier’s 48th minute goal was the difference as the fourth seeded Bobcats knocked out defending champion and No. 2 seed Siena Women’s Soccer 1-0 in the MAAC Semifinals at Hesse Field in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Siena wraps its impressive 2016 season with a 9-7-3 final record, after matching the program’s best-ever regular season conference standing.
Siena dominated possession throughout, but held just a 5-4 edge in shots on goal as Quinnipiac (12-6-1) was content to pack things in for the full 90 in their defensive third of the field in limiting the Saints to a number of long chances.
And on a rare offensive opportunity just 2:51 into the second half, the Bobcats would convert for the decisive score. MAAC assist leader Jess Fontaine delivered a free kick into the box which Pelletier won in between a defender and the keeper and finished to put Quinnipiac in front.
Siena attempted 13 second half shots including a number late, but couldn’t find the equalizer as they fell for just the third time in their past 10 MAAC Tournament matches.
Quinnipiac, which won its first postseason match in 16 years in the quarterfinals Saturday vs. Canisius, now advances to play in its first MAAC Championship Match since joining the league in 2013. The Bobcats will face regular season champion, No. 1 seed and tournament host Monmouth for the title Sunday at 3 p.m.
Freshman goalkeeper and Second Team All-MAAC selection Taylor Dorado made three saves for the Saints which dropped to 0-3 all-time as the No. 2 seed.
Olivia Myszewski stopped five shots for Quinnipiac which snapped an eight-match winless streak against Siena.
The Saints say goodbye to their decorated senior class of Kristen Connors, Andrea Pereira, Tara Sobierajski and Tess Svoboda which became the first class in program history to qualify for the MAAC Championships in all four of their seasons, and will always be remembered as champions after winning the conference tournament title as juniors last fall. Despite graduating four key members, Siena should be ready to contend again in 2017 as the Saints are expected to return nine starters and 90% of their scoring plus their entire goalkeeping corps.