LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. – Junior midfielder Peter Gadze scored his first collegiate goal as No. 6 seed Siena Soccer blanked 11th seeded Niagara 1-0 in the First Round of the MAAC Championships at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex. Sophomore goalkeeper Gianni Carillo made five saves to post his fifth shutout of the season.
Siena (7-9-3) advances to face No. 3 seed Marist in the MAAC Quarterfinals Friday at 11 a.m. The Saints won the regular season meeting with the Red Foxes, earning a 1-0 win in Poughkeepsie two weeks ago.
Niagara (1-16-3) out-shot Siena 7-3 over the opening 45 minutes, but the Saints’ offense came alive with some strong chances right from the get-go to start the second half. In the 60th minute, sophomore captain Milorad Sobot sent in a service from the left that was headed out by a Purple Eagles’ defender. But an on-rushing Gadze won the race to the loose ball and blasted home the decisive goal inside the top left corner from 25 yards out.
Perhaps Niagara’s best chance to score came with just 71 seconds remaining. Brennan Koslow got off a strong blast inside the box, but Carillo made a tremendous diving stop as the surging Saints ran their unbeaten streak to four (3-0-1).
Niagara held a 12-6 edge in shots, while Siena harbored a 4-3 margin in corners in winning their fourth in a row over the Purple Eagles while also snapping a three-match MAAC Tournament winless streak. Four of the Saints’ six all-time MAAC Tournament victories have come here in Florida, where Siena improves to a perfect 3-0 all-time in First Round contests.
Joel Gerberich made one save for Niagara which ends its season on an eight-match losing streak, with seven of those defeats coming via shutout.