Courtesy of RITathletics.com
GENEVA, NY — The No. 3 seed RIT (11-4-3) women’s soccer team advanced to the Liberty League Championship on the strength of a 4-3 advantage in penalty kicks Saturday evening after a scoreless draw through regulation and overtime against No. 2 seed Ithaca College (13-2-3) in the semifinals on the campus of William Smith College. The Tigers will face No. 1 seed and 13-time champion William Smith College in the championship game at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
With each team having scored three times through the first five rounds of penalty kicks, Olivia De Luca (Centerport, NY/Harborfields) converted her try in the sixth round and Alyssa Salls (Plattsburgh, NY/Plattsburgh) saved a try by Ithaca’s Kelsey Espenhorst to send the Tigers to the title game. It is RIT’s second appearance in the Liberty League Championship, the first coming in 2013.
“I am continually impressed and proud of this team’s toughness and ability to rise to the occasion,” said RIT head coach Liz Masterson. “The game had its ebbs and flows for both teams, but it was mostly an incredible defensive effort all around. Both teams fought to the bitter end.”
The game finished regulation and two overtime periods scoreless. Shots were 12-10 in favor of Ithaca. The Tigers held a 7-5 advantage in shots on target, while RIT took six corner kicks to five for the Bombers. Salls made five saves in net for the Tigers, while Stacey DiGiorgio made seven stops in net for Ithaca.
Neither team generated much in the way of scoring chances in the first half. Piper Zimmerman (Sellersville, PA/Pennridge) had a shot from distance in the 36th minute that DiGiorgio saved. Jenny Lidwin had a shot from 20 yards out in the final seconds of the fist half that just went wide of the post.
Shots were 3-2 Ithaca in the first half. Salls made one save, while DiGiorgio made two stops.
RIT generated some better chances in the second half. Danielle Losquadro (Merrick, NY/Sanford H. Calhoun) had fired a low shot on net in the 53rd minute that DiGiorgio stopped. Maggie Hoey (Charlotte, NC/Lincoln Charter School) had a chance in the 56th minute on a shot from 18 yards out that was saved. Ithaca’s best chance came in the 79th minute when Lidwin fired a shot from the top of the RIT penalty area that Salls was able to gobble up.
Lidwin had the only quality scoring chance in either overtime session, firing a shot that just missed the crossbar in the dying seconds of the second overtime.
In the shootout, Emily Thiel (Seattle, WA/Roosevelt), Rebecca Hext (Ottawa, ON/Longfields Davidson Heights) and Lauren Chester (Rochester, NY/Greece Olympia) each converted for RIT, while Sam Robinson, Brady Lynch and Ally Christman each scored for the Bombers. De Luca stepped up and buried her shot, and Salls came up with the big stop on Ithaca’s try.
Top-seed William Smith defeated St. Lawrence, 3-0 in the first semifinal on Saturday. RIT and William Smith met earlier in the season on Sept. 26 in Geneva, with the Herons coming out on top, 1-0.