Pioneers top women's soccer, 4-1


UTICA, N.Y.—Utica College (5-1) scored two early and two late goals to down the SUNY Potsdam Women's soccer team (2-5) 4-1 in a nonconference road matchup Sunday afternoon. Junior midfielder Ashley Thayer scored for the Bears and freshman Jaime Durant made five saves in goal.

Utica got on the board in the ninth minute off a corner kick. Samantha Matthews launched the ball into the middle of the box and Jaime Hillman drove it home. Less than four minutes later Sarah Southwell fed Samantha Spohler. Spohler fired a shot from 25 yards out that went off the hands of Durant and in. Potsdam evened the play after the goals and despite trailing 2-0, matched Utica with seven shots at the break.

The Bears continued to hold a slight advantage territorially early on in the final period, but couldn't solve Pioneer goalie Caitlyn Smith. Midway through the half, Potsdam Head Coach Mark Misiak decided play even more aggressively to spark some offense. He sent everyone forward and opened up his defense to Utica scoring changes. The Pioneers took advantage of the situation, getting a goal from Southwell in the 79th minute and the final marker from Kati Stolz at 82:54. Misiak took complete responsibility for the goals. However, his strategy finally got Potsdam on the board in the 88th minute. Freshman midfielder Jess Sterns sent a cross in front of the Pioneers' goal and Thayer buried it at 87:01.

In goal, Smith stole the show with 12 saves to earn the victory. Potsdam outshot Utica 16-11.

“We dug ourselves a hole early,” said Misiak. “Utica hunkered down defensively after that and was tough to crack. Heather Johnson worked really hard for us today even though it doesn't show up in the stats. The goals will come for her.”

The Bears are back in action next Saturday, Sept. 22 when they travel to Plattsburgh for their SUNYAC opener against the Cardinals.