Before Friday’s NCAA Division II Sweet 16 matchup against Franklin Pierce, College of Saint Rose women’s soccer coach Laurie Darling Gutheil felt defending Ravens forward Gabriela Demoner would be key if the Golden Knights wanted to advance to the first Elite 8 in school history.
The Brazilian striker was held in check in the first half, but two plays after intermission were enough for her to give her team a 2-0 victory.
Saint Rose, the nation’s third-ranked team, has one victory against the Ravens in 17 career contests and has never prevailed over its NE-10 rivals in the postseason. This was the year the 19-1-2 Golden Knights and their coach hoped for more.
“I don’t think there’s a mental block (against them) as much as we haven’t been able to get a break yet,” Darling Gutheil said. “This year we’ve done more than we’ve ever done. There’s just a lot that they (my team) did so well that I can’t take away everything we accomplished collectively.”
Franklin Pierce (16-1-5) broke through in the 57th minute when Demoner stepped over the ball twice to buy time for a run by forward Jenna Giardina. Demoner’s 40-yard through ball found Giardina, who tapped it past charging Saint Rose keeper Lauren Steinberg into the left corner of the goal.
Roughly 13 minutes later, Demoner put the game out of reach by dribbling to her right just outside of the box, before bringing the ball back to her left foot and striking the ball into the right corner of the goal.
Saint Rose had the better of the play in the first half and had more shots on goal. The Golden Knights had a good chance early, when midfielder Lindsay Bove found forward Kailey Egbert on a cross.
The senior volleyed the pass out of the air and appeared to have a goal, but Ravens keeper Brittany Ester did well to tap it over the bar.
Despite the loss, Saint Rose ended the season with school records for wins (19), shutouts (15) and assists (57). The Golden Knights also won their first NE-10 postseason championship in any sport.
“This year’s been amazing. We’ve accomplished so much as a team and we’ve been able to come this far,” Steinberg said. “I’m going to leave thinking that I just had the best year possible and played with the most amazing girls in the world and a great coach.”