Cardinals drop 1-0 heartbreaker to Scranton in semifinals

SCRANTON, Pa. – CUA and Scranton engaged in yet another classic, down-to-the-wire finish on Saturday in the Landmark Conference semifinals, with the Royals outlasting the Cardinals 1-0.  The teams were scoreless for 85 minutes before Scranton's Katie Hennigan netted the game-winner.

"We were there the entire way," CUA Head Coach JP Sousa said afterwards.  "We played well in spurts.  There was a 20-25 minute stretch in the first half where we controlled play, we moved the ball around well.  In the end, Scranton had the one dangerous chance and they made the play, so give them credit."

Scranton's Jessica Sciscione had the first chance of the day at the 3:13 mark, and her header went wide.

Down the other end, CUA's Ellen Jansen had a chance, but it too went wide.

A shot by the Royals' Sarah Gibbons at the 11:51 mark was sent back by CUA's Lexi Halperin, keeping the match scoreless.

With under 15 minutes to play in the opening half, Kiersten Gault tried to get the Cardinals on the board, but Scranton's Kelsy McAnelly stopped the shot.  Mary McGann followed with a shot of her own, but it was wide.

The final shot of the opening 45 minutes came from Scranton's Emily Farrell, but it went wide, sending the teams into intermission knotted at zero.

CUA got off two shots in the first two minutes of the second half, but one was blocked, and the second was saved.

A header by Scranton's Noelle Malone went wide at the 56:25 mark, as both teams continued to search for the first goal.

CUA's defense stood tall in the 66th minute, when Sciscione got off back-to-back shots, both of which were blocked.

Four minutes later, McGann got a shot off for CUA, but it was wide.

With less than five minutes to play, Hennigan netted the game-winner when she beat Halperin one-on-one.  Samantha Russo assisted on the goal.

Halperin sent back six shots for the Cardinals, and Kelsy McAnelly stopped two for the home team.

"We just weren't dangerous enough in the end," Sousa explained.  "We were there, we gave a great effort, we just came up one goal short."

Sousa then commented on the Cardinals' 11 seniors.  "They're a great group, a special group.  We didn't start out the way we wanted to this season, but they took it upon themselves to get things turned around."

He continued, "They still had a goal to make it into the playoffs, which we did.  We had a great run there in October and they led the way.  They are a tough group of young women, and they'll be missed for sure."

Scranton now moves into Sunday's championship match, where the Royals will meet the winner of the Drew-Moravian semifinal.