Article Written by Nicholas Guerriero
Published: October 11, 2012
NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Returning home for the first time since Aug. 31, the Iona College women's soccer team remained unbeaten (2-0-1) at Mazzella Field with a 2-1 victory over Canisius in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play. The Gaels (4-6-2, 2-1-0 MAAC) used two early second half goals to defeat the Golden Griffins (2-11, 0-3 MAAC).
A well-played first half saw both teams with chances for the back of the net but solid netminding kept zeroes on the scoreboard. Iona's best chance came in the 36th minute when sophomore forward Carly Haden was robbed from point blank range by a Canisius' defender sliding across the open net to stop the attempt. The Gaels had a 10-7 shot advantage in the first half. Canisius goalkeeper Megan Tock stopped all eight shots on net in the frame.
Exactly one minute into the second half Iona broke the scoreless tie. Junior F Nicole Paulucci slid into a pass from sophomore F Safi Ayinde and beat Tock inside the six-yard box for her first goal of the season. Eight and a half minutes later sophomore MF Samantha Fiorenzo beat a defender just inside the penalty box and blasted a shot past the keeper for her team leading third tally of the season. Paulucci fed Fiorenzo to pick up an assist on the play. After two Canisius shot attempts, Ayinde had an opportunity to put a third goal on the board for the Gaels. On a similar setup to Fiorenzo's goal, Ayinde's blast sailed just high of the net in the 69th minute.
Canisius final broke through Iona's defense in the 76th minute. Brianna Smith tallied her team leading fifth goal of the season after making a nice move to elude an Iona defender on the left side and slipped a shot past junior keeper Trista Rivera from a hard angle to half the Griffs' deficit.
Iona played solid defense over the final 14 minutes, allowing just one shot attempt with just under two minutes remaining. Brittany Krause shot from just outside the box landed safely into Rivera's hands.
For the game, the Gaels held a 17-13 shot advantage. Tock made 10 stops while Rivera saved four attempts in the victory.
During the matchup, the women's soccer team honored the memory of their fellow Gael, sophomore rower William Falkwith black armbands with his initials. Falk died tragically on Sep. 23.
The Gaels return to action Sunday afternoon when they host Niagara (1-2 MAAC). The Purple Eagles dropped their first matchup of the weekend Friday night 2-0 at Fairfield. Iona looks to exact revenge from last season's matchup as Niagara defeated the Maroon & Gold 4-0 in the final weekend of the 2011 season to virtually end the Gaels' playoff chances.