LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Siena Soccer’s first-ever postseason home match was one the Saints won’t soon forget. Following a scoreless tie through 110 minutes of action, junior goalkeeper Aleksa Radosavljevic made three huge saves during the shootout to propel third seeded Siena past No. 6 seed Monmouth 3-1 in penalty kicks in the MAAC Quarterfinals at Siena Turf Field.
Siena (8-8-4) advances to the MAAC Semifinals for the second year in a row for a rematch against No. 2 seed and defending champion Rider. The Broncs defeated the Saints 3-2 in last year’s semifinals in Florida en route to capturing the title. Siena and Rider will square off Friday in Hamden, Connecticut, as regular season champion and No. 1 seed Quinnipiac will serve as the host for both the MAAC Semifinals and Championship matches. Match time is TBA.
The Saints held decided advantage in both shots (20-8) and corners (13-4) in a well-played match before a jam-packed, raucous crowd at Siena Turf Field. As a result, the Saints had the better of the chances throughout, but couldn’t solve Eric Klenofsky. The reigning MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year and Preseason Player of the Year made eight saves, including several impressive stops, to send the match to penalty kicks.
Both Monmouth (6-9-3) and Siena converted their first attempts, with Klenofsky cashing in for the Hawks and junior captain Milorad Sobot scoring for the Saints. But Radosavljevic rebounded with a big denial of Brandon McCarthy to open the second round, and junior striker Paolino Curto, who hadn’t played in the match, calmly came in cold off the bench to put Siena in front 2-1.
Radosavljevic then made his most impressive stop, diving to his left to rob Michael Luke. However, the ball deflected back to his right, but Radosavljevic quickly leapt to his feet and this time dove to his right to knock away the loose ball just before it trickled across the goal line.
Senior midfielder David Itoafa then converted to put the Saints on the brink, and Radosavljevic sealed the deal denying Monmouth’s leading score Dave Nigro as he was subsequently mobbed by his teammates as the celebration ensued.
Radosavljevic totaled two saves during the regulation and overtime periods to post his fourth clean sheet of the season for Siena, which vanquished the defending MAAC Regular Season Champions and overwhelming preseason favorites for the second time in three weeks. The Saints also captured the regular season meeting in Loudonville 2-1 on Oct. 12 over the Hawks which received 10 of 11 first-place votes in the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Although Siena is set to make the program’s 13th appearance in the MAAC Semifinals, the Saints will look to make history as they attempt to advance to the championship match for the first time ever.