Simmons Soccer fell to sixth-ranked William Smith College, 2-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. The Sharks' national appearance comes after capturing the 2009 Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament Championship. Simmons' last trip to the NCAA tournament was in 2004, after that year's GNAC victory earned the team an automatic qualification.
"We are extremely proud of the team and their ability to stay focused and persevere through today's game," said Head Coach Erica Mastrogiacomo. "Our opponent was both strong and fast and our team competed with them especially in the second half. I was pleased to see that we were able to challenge William Smith and put pressure on them in the last 45 minutes. It is a testament to the character of our student-athletes."
William Smith used two first-half goals to take command of the match. Junior forward BreLynn Nasypany (Herkimer, N.Y.) put away a lead pass from first-year forward Renee Jensen (White Plains, N.Y.) 13 minutes, 13 seconds into the game. Nasypany split two defenders to break free for a shot from about 15 yards out to score the Herons' first goal of the day.
The Herons increased their lead to 2-0 in the 25th minute, as Nasypany sent a cross to sophomore forward Kate Redmond (Bernardsville, N.J.) for a shot from four yards out.
William Smith outshot the Sharks 21-2, and held a 9-0 advantage in corner kicks.
Heron sophomore goalie Amanda Davis (Landing, N.J.) collected two saves on the way to her 13th shutout of the season, while senior keeper Rachel Elliott (Amherst, N.H.) recorded 10 saves in net for Simmons.
"Rachel added another strong performance to her season by making 10 stops and keeping the Sharks in the contest," said Mastrogiacomo. "Her leadership from the net created a calming presence as her team battled the Herons and kept them scoreless in the second half."
Juniors Katie Foley (Rochester, N.H.) and Brittany Staszowski (Lenox, Mass.) remained composed and poised throughout the 90 minutes as the Herons' relentless attackers attempted to increase the scoring advantage.
Junior Allie Megna (North Hampton, N.H.) and rookie Justine Beauchamp (Exeter, N.H.) attempted to control the midfield for the Sharks and were successful at times with excellent service to flank players, Lindsey Butler (South Weymouth, Mass.) and freshman Ally Ayotte (Litchfield, N.H.), who executed their speed against a tough opponent but were unable to convert any goals.
Senior defender Kelly Muirhead (Middleboro, Mass.) was pushed up to an offensive role late in the first half, and for most of the second stanza in an effort to add depth and speed in the Sharks' attack. Combining with Anna Stella (Sharon, Mass.) and Emily DiNuovo (Palmer, Mass.), the Sharks increased the pressure on the William Smith defensive line.
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Simmons............. 0 0 - 0
William Smith....... 2 0 - 2
1. 13:13 WSC BreLynn Nasypany (Renee Jensen) - lead pass from 12, 9 split 2 defenders, shot to lower rt corner, 15yd
2. 24:27 WSC Kate Redmond (BreLynn Nasypany) - cross to 24 for shot from 4 yds
Shots: Simmons 2, William Smith 21
Saves: Simmons 10 (Rachel Elliott 10), William Smith 2 (Amanda Davis 2)
NCAA Tournament First Round