NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The University of Scranton women's soccer team experienced a roller coaster of momentum in Saturday night's NCAA Tournament first-round matchup against Arcadia at Christopher Newport. The ride ended on quite a high as the Royals knocked off the Knights, 3-1, to advance to Sunday's second round.
Seniors Jamie Hreniuk (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) and Taylor Stevens (Yardley, Pa./Villa Joseph Marie), and freshman Grace Elliott (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) scored goals, and senior Colleen Berry (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) had another big game in goal as Scranton (16-1-3) won a first-round game for the second straight season.
The Royals will face the host, Christopher Newport, in Sunday's second round at 6 p.m. The Captains (18-0-1) rolled to a 10-1 win over Staten Island in Saturday's first game.
Scranton played a near flawless first half to take a 2-0 lead into the break. Hreniuk opened the scoring in the 18th minute. She dribbled in from the right wing and ripped a shot over the keeper and into the top of the net for her 11th goal of the season.
Elliott scored the eventual game-winner in the 32nd minute when she knocked home a cross from senior forward Annelise DePaulo (Roseto, Pa./Moravian Academy) for her third goal of the season. The Royals held off some late pressure from Arcadia (12-6-3) to end the half, leaving them 45 minutes from the second round.
But the second half turned out to be a much different affair as the Knights came out reinvigorated, putting the Royals on their back foot right away. Arcadia eventually cut the Royals' lead in half with a goal in the 62nd minute, then kept the pressure on, eventually holding an 11-4 edge in second-half shots.
Berry proved to be the key final line of defense, making five saves in the match, including three in the second half. Twice she dove to her right to make saves, the first when she left her feet to deflect a shot wide in what was one of the best saves of her career, keeping the game scoreless.
Scranton gained some momentum in the final 10 minutes, leading to the insurance goal from Stevens with 4:06 to play. Her fourth goal of the season came a few seconds after the Arcadia goal made a strong stop on Hreniuk and the loose ball eventually fell to Stevens, who deposited it in the left corner to put the game away.
Arcadia held a 16-11 advantage in shots and an 8-5 edge in corner kicks for the game. Stevens finished with a team-high four shots to lead Scranton.
Saturday's first-round win was the eighth NCAA Tournament victory in Scranton women's soccer history. Sunday's second-round matchup between Christopher Newport and Scranton will mark the first time the two teams have met.