Women’s soccer team’s goal: Landmark Conference Title

Submitted photo: Jodi Vitolo For the Aquinas JUNIOR CO-CAPTAIN and defender Erin Casey (left) rises above the Moravian defense to score on a header in the second minute in the win Saturday. The goal was assisted by senior midfielder Ellen Walker on a corner kick. The women’s soccer team will play in the conference semifinals Wednesday at a time and location to be announced.

Submitted photo: Jodi Vitolo For the Aquinas
JUNIOR CO-CAPTAIN and defender Erin Casey (left) rises above the Moravian defense to score on a header in the second minute in the win Saturday. The goal was assisted by senior midfielder Ellen Walker on a corner kick. The women’s soccer team will play in the conference semifinals Wednesday at a time and location to be announced.

Matthew Basara
Sports Correspondent

The University’s women’s soccer team defeated Moravian College 2-0 Saturday, guaranteeing the team a spot in the Landmark Conference playoffs.

Junior co-captain and defender Erin Casey scored only 1:40 into the game and junior forward Gianna Vitolo added an insurance goal in the 80th minute in the win against Moravian. The team is no stranger to post-season play, having won three of the last four conference tournaments. The Royals are currently 9-6-2 overall and 4-1-1 in conference play.

The team hopes to continue its balanced play behind the likes of Vitolo, who has been in good form recently, and sophomore goalkeeper Krissy Welsh and her defense.

Vitolo has managed 7 points on 3 goals and 1 assist in the last five games and the backline has helped Welsh reach second in the conference in goals against average (0.60), shutouts (6), and save percentage (.804).

Co-captain and defender Jasmine Sconciafurno said the team started slow, but has begun to click along with Vitolo’s recent solid play, “she (Vitolo) really started to take advantage of her opportunities … which is why she is leading the team in points right now,” Sconciafurno said.

Overall, Vitolo leads the team with 12 points on 4 goals and 4 assists.

The Royals most certainly look forward to a potential rematch with rival Catholic University in the Landmark Conference playoffs.

Junior midfielder/foward Michaela Arbus summarized it best by saying, “I want to beat them on their own field in the conference final. That would be the best moment in my Scranton uniform.”

However, first the Royals must go up against a tough, well-rested Elizabethtown College team. The Blue Jays come to Fitzpatrick Field on a seven-game winning streak, having outscored opponents 25-5 in those games.

The Blue Jays are 12-3 on the year and 5-1 in the conference, and they will not have played in a week by the time they come to Scranton Saturday.

Winning the Landmark Conference playoffs guarantees a bid in the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament, which the team would love to have another go at. In recent years, the team has only found post-season success in the Landmark Conference playoffs, as the last Royals’ win in the NCAA tournament came in 2010.

However, experience is invaluable and will hopefully help the team find success in the NCAA tournament this time around.

The Royals dominated Drew Wednesday night in a 5-0 win, putting them in third place only 2 points behind Elizabethtown. The team will host the Blue Jays at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in its regular season finale, hoping to end on a high note going into post-season play. .

The winner of the matchup earns the second seed and home-field advantage in the Landmark Conference semifinals, which will be a rematch of Saturday’s game.

Co-captain Casey said she is confident in her teammates, both against Elizabethtown and entering the playoffs.

“We’ve been starting to come together as a team,” Casey said. “Defensively, we’re starting to get our shape … and offensively, I think it’s just going to be a matter of finishing the ball when we get the opportunity.”

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