LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – The tenth-seeded Iona College women's soccer program advanced to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference quarterfinals in dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon, taking down seventh-seeded Fairfield in penalty kicks. The Gaels and Stags ended double overtime tied 1-1, and the Maroon & Gold emerged the victor on penalty kicks, 5-4.
Senior Marisa Bentley notched the game-winning strike, beating the senior Fairfield keeper Jenna Pike to her left side on the fifth and final try. All five Gaels who stepped up to the dot scored; senior Charlotte Stuart, junior Mariana Jaramillo, freshman Kelsie Kearns, senior Julia Campagna and Bentley.
Senior keeper Tiffany Martinez stopped Fairfield's third attempt which was taken by freshman Alex Madden. Martinez stepped to her left, stuck her foot out, and blocked it wide right.
Today's postseason victory is the first since the turn of the century for the Maroon & Gold.
Fairfield had numerous dangerous opportunities throughout the opening portion of the first half. Iona committed a foul in the fifth minute that allowed for a Stags scoring chance, but sophomore Amber Crispin stole away the moment. In the ninth minute, Madden got had a shot off from just four yards out that senior Tiffany Martinez made a lunging save to keep the game tied. At the 20-minute mark, Fairfield junior Sara Plowman had an acrobatic attempt from 10 yards out in which Martinez registered her second save.
Madden scored the Stags first goal in the 27th minute. Fellow Rookie Gabby Diodati crossed it into the box where Madden gathered, and struck the line drive shot inside the left post.
Iona earned possession time as the first half came to a close. With 20 minutes remaining before halftime, junior Mariana Jaramillo sent a free kick into the box that was cleared away, only to be followed quickly by freshman Katie Benson having a shot from 24-yards that sailed wide right. In the 44th minute, Crispin got Iona in the shot-on-goal category with a grounded attempt toward the left post.
Fairfield out shot the Maroon & Gold in the first half, 4-2. The Stags had three total shots on goal. The Gaels had the only two corner kicks in the first half.
Come the second half, the Gaels brought the energy and desperation that they needed. After Fairfield freshman Shannon Ryan had the first scoring chance of the second half with a rising shot in the 49', the Gaels responded in the 54' when Stuart forced a turnover that freed Crispin up to take a line drive chance from 18 yards out. As time progressed, graduate Erika Flowers came off the bench to support the Maroon & Gold midfield and mustered a shot on goal in the 64'.
Senior Marissa Dundas tied things up for Iona in the 81st minute. Stuart threw a long toss into the box and Dundas found the end of it after a Stags defender misplayed the ball. It was Dundas' first goal of the season.
Iona had the only two shots of the first overtime period, but Fairfield controlled the majority of the possession. The Stags had three corner kicks chances all within two minutes of each other.
The second overtime was a back-and-forth effort on both sides. With tired legs, both Fairfield and Iona had one shot in the second overtime period.
Iona held the Stags without a shot for nearly forty minutes in the second half. Sophomore Julia McGuire ended the streak in the 87th minute with a game-winning attempt sailing high.
The Gaels out shot the Stags 9-7 in the game; they had shots on goal edge, 5-4.
The Maroon & Gold return to action against Manhattan tomorrow morning, Oct. 29 at 11:15 AM. The is being broadcasted live on ESPN3.