Women's soccer drops 1-0 decision to regionally-ranked Stonehill

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Saint Anselm College women's soccer team fell to regionally-ranked Stonehill College, 1-0, on Tuesday night from Grappone Stadium in Northeast-10 Conference action.

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With the loss, the Hawks fall to 7-6 overall and 7-4 in NE10 play. The Skyhawks, who were ranked sixth in the latest United Soccer Coaches East Region poll, improve to 11-4 and 8-4 in league play.

Saint Anselm women's soccer Head Coach Joel Bancroft drew a lot of positives from the effort, including the pregame senior day ceremony celebrating the team's Class of 2019.

"What a beautiful night to celebrate our senior class and host a really bright Stonehill side at Grappone Stadium," said Bancroft. "I thought early on, [Stonehill] set the tone for the game. Very hard in the tackle and organized going forward. That pressure ultimately led to an early goal," Bancroft continued.

"This was a new position for the group to work through as we've not trailed in the last five matches. I thought our response was terrific, in particular the second half. We generated multiple quality opportunities, but could not finish. Execution is the difference between a win and a loss," said Bancroft.

"Tonight, you have to credit Stonehill for finding and executing their moment," concluded Bancroft.

The visitors came out with pressure early in the game, firing off the first four shots. Stonehill's Nicole Geraghty received a through-pass from Kayla Henry just inside the 10-yard line, putting the Skyhawks ahead by a 1-0 margin in the game's early goings.

The Skyhawks continued with the pressure, but sophomore keeper Payton Wildrick (Dartmouth, Mass.) came up with some huge saves, including a diving one to her left to keep it at a one-goal deficit. The Hawks had a great chance at the 38:51 mark of the first half as junior Caly Farina (Southbury, Conn.) drilled a shot from inside the box that was blocked. The rebound kicked out to sophomore Nicole White (Danvers, Mass.), whose shot was stopped by the reigning NE10 Goalkeeper of the Week Kaitlin Brown.

Saint Anselm came out with the offensive pressure to start the second half. The Hawks fired off the first three shots in the opening 15 minutes and controlled possession. Late in the second stanza, the Hawks had another great chance as a shot was blocked and followed by a blast off the foot of sophomore Bailey Conti (Walpole, Mass.) - her shot went just over the cross bar. In the 75th minute, following a Saint Anselm corner kick, junior Kiley Larocque (Upton, Mass.) had a great chance for the equalizer. However, her shot was blocked by a Skyhawk defender. 

The Hawks had a final chance in the closing seconds, but Brown came up with the save to hold onto the 1-0 victory for Stonehill. 

Saint Anselm had a slim 17-16 edge in shots, but outshot Stonehill 10-4 in the second half. Both teams had five corners in the game. Wildrick came up with eight saves in net for the Hawks, while Brown stopped eight of her own for the shutout. 

Saint Anselm hits the road on Friday, Oct. 19. The Hawks travel to Springfield, Mass. to face the Yellow Jackets of American International College for a 7 p.m. match.