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  • Colin Richey

Women’s soccer finishes their season by battling to the end

By: Colin Richey

The Canisius women’s soccer team won their first game of the 2022 MAAC Women’s Soccer Championship, defeating #4 Rider in penalty kicks.

Rider got on the board early, scoring their lone goal of the game just 12 minutes into the contest. Despite hitting the crossbar in the 60th minute, and generating 13 shots, Rider only managed to put one of their three shots on net past junior goalkeeper Jessica Jones.

Canisius dominated much of the game, recording 24 total shots, 13 of which were on net. They finally found the back of the net with just 5 minutes to go in regulation, thanks to senior forward Jen Romero. Freshman forward Skylar Cornell played the ball to the middle of the box, where Romero tucked it into the corner past the Rider goalkeeper.

The Griffins continued domination into overtime, and even generated 4 shots on net, but none could get past Rider goalie Ellie Sciancalepore. Thanks to a scoreless overtime, the game would need to be decided by penalty kicks.

After both teams missed their first kick, Romero found the back of the net again to give Canisius a 1-0 lead. Jones was able to make the follow up save, cushioning the Griffins’ lead. After both teams traded goals in the next two rounds, junior forward Tiana Fonoti scored the team’s 4th penalty kick goal to clinch the win.

With the victory, the Griffins moved on to the semifinals, where they faced off against the #1 seed Quinnipiac in Connecticut at 2:00 on Thursday.

Junior Rebecca Cooke scored a penalty-kick goal in the 81st minute to lift top-seeded Quinnipiac to a 1-0 victory over No. 5 seeded Canisius.

The MAAC's Golden Boot recipient, Cooke tallied her nation-leading 19th goal of the season as the Bobcats (14-2-1) advanced to Sunday's championship game, where they will host the winner of Thursday's other semifinal contest between No. 3 seed Niagara and No. 2 seed Fairfield.

Junior keeper Jessica Jones finished with three saves for the Golden Griffins (5-5-10), who saw their season come to a close with Thursday's setback.

In a defensive battle that saw the teams combined for just four shots on goal, Quinnipiac had a prime opportunity to get on the board in the 80th minute as Courtney Chochol was awarded a penalty kick after being fouled inside the Griffs box. Chochol was unable to convert on her try, however, as her attempt hit the right post and returned back into play.

The Bobcats kept pressing and were rewarded just more than two minutes later with another penalty-kick opportunity as Cooke was able to draw a foul in the Canisius box. Cooke finally broke the deadlock as she stepped up to the spot and deposited her kick into the lower right-hand corner of the Canisius goal.

Despite falling to Quinnipiac on Thursday, Canisius played in the semifinals of the MAAC Women's Soccer Championship for the first time since the 2013 campaign.

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