The University of Scranton women's soccer team has had its sights set on a second straight Landmark Conference championship since the first day of practice in August. Now, the Royals are one victory away from reaching that goal.
A strong all-around performance lifted the top-seeded Royals to an impressive 3-0 victory over fourth-seeded Elizabethtown in a Landmark Conference semifinal on Wednesday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Field. The Royals will host second-seeded Susquehanna in Saturday's championship at 1 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Field.
Scranton (13-3-2) jumped ahead in the 16th minute on a goal by junior midfielder Erica Licari (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown East) when she outraced the Elizabethtown goalkeeper to a ball that was crossed into the box by senior midfielder Meredith D'Angelo (Hatboro, Pa./Gwynedd Mercy Academy). Licari controlled the ball past the diving keeper and easily slotted her point-blank shot into the net for a 1-0 lead.
The goal was set up by D'Angelo's tremendous play down the left wing. From her center midfield position, she gained control on the left side around midfield and beat a defender down the left wing before centering the ball to Licari for the goal. D'Angelo's assist was her first of the season and second of her career. Licari earned her sixth goal of the season and 15th of her career.
The Royals maintained that lead into halftime despite a couple other solid chances as they finished with an 8-2 advantage in shots in the opening 45 minutes.
The lead doubled in the 59th minute on another outstanding individual play, this time by senior forward Kelly Pompey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep). She gained control at the top of the box and deftly outdribbled a defender to create space and slipped a shot inside the right post for a 2-0 lead. It was her sixth goal of the season and the eighth of her career.
Scranton's lead swelled to three in the 72nd minute when freshman forward Corinne McDonald (Chalfont, Pa./Central Bucks South) got free on the right side about 35 yards from goal and dribbled in on the goalkeeper and scored with a low shot past the keeper. It was her fourth goal of the season.
The Royals finished the night with a commanding 23-6 edge in shots and 12-3 in corner kicks. Junior goalkeeper Colleen Berry (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) made two very good saves en route to posting her 11th shutout of the season.
The victory marked the third time in the past four seasons that Scranton has eliminated Elizabethtown (9-7-1) in a Landmark semifinal. The Royals posted a 2-1 overtime victory in 2014 and a 1-0 overtime victory in 2015.
When Scranton hosts Susquehanna (14-3-2) in Saturday's Landmark Conference championship, they will be aiming for their sixth Landmark crown in 11 seasons in the conference and the program's 28th conference title overall.
Susquehanna, the no. 2 seed, advanced to Saturday's title game after winning a penalty kick shootout, 4-2, after the team's battled to a 0-0 draw in double overtime.