LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Tara Sobierajski could not have scripted a better collegiate debut. The freshman back tallied three points and made a sliding save as time expired, preserving a 4-3 Siena Women’s Soccer season opening victory over UMass in a wild affair at Siena Field.
Sobierajski, who tallied 175 career points during her high school career despite playing center back, had no problem carrying over her scoring prowess to the next level. She assisted on the first of two Brittany Pfaff goals and later finished a long free kick served in from Anna Grant for her first score.
But as important as her offensive contributions were, a singular defensive play stood out most.
Attempting to run out the clock, Siena (1-0) turned the ball over with under 10 seconds to go. UMass’ (0-1) Megan Burke broke down the left side and pulled keeper Taylor Booth off her line, giving her a wide open look to tie the score. But Sobierajski sprinted back, slid and knocked away the attempt before it crossed the line as the final horn sounded.
The decisive save capped a wild season opener for both schools which featured 40 shots and seven goals and ultimately saw the Saints run their record to an impressive 21-1-1 in non-conference home games dating back to 2007.
A senior captain and Preseason All-MAAC selection, Pfaff enjoyed one of the finest games of her career. She out-ran the UMass back line for a pair of goals and assisted on the game-winner for a five-point effort.
In the 79th minute Pfaff won the ball and sent it wide right to Michelle Yanniello. The sophomore midfielder sent in a cross that missed both a pair of Siena and UMass heads to the far side and found a wide open Coreena D’Alfonso who fired home the game-winner.
Siena made the most of its 11 shots, while the Minutewomen struggled to solve Booth despite 29 targets. The Saints’ keeper made eight of her career-high tying 11 saves in the first half.
Alyssa D’Arcy netted two goals for UMass, while Burke added a goal and Brittany Moore dished out two helpers.
The Saints look to keep the early momentum going Sunday when they host Binghamton for a 1 p.m. kickoff.