CENTERVILLE, Mass. — After setting a single-season school record for victories and qualifying for the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time in program history, the New Jersey City University women’s soccer team will have their season continue into the month of November for the second straight year.
NJCU (14-7) has been selected as the No. 4 seed in the 2010 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Metro/Upstate Women’s Soccer championship tournament and will meet No. 5 seeded SUNY Brockport (8-8) in the ECAC Quarterfinals on Wednesday, November 10 at 1 p.m. at NJCU’s Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
The 2010 season marks the first time that the ECAC has combined the Metro and Upstate Regions into a single bracket. Brockport State is the two-time defending ECAC Upstate New York champions, having claimed titles in 2008 and 2009.
In 2009, NJCU qualified for the ECAC Tournament—its first-ever post-season appearance, and went 1-1 as the third seed. The Knights defeated Mount Saint Mary College (NY) in the 2009 ECAC Quarterfinals, 7-2, in a home game, before losing to eventual champion William Paterson University, 2-1, in the ECAC semifinals on a neutral field.
The winner of the NJCU/Brockport matchup will face the winner of top-seeded Richard Stockton College (12-7-2) and #8 seed SUNY Old Westbury (11-8) in the ECAC Semifinals on Saturday, November 13. The time and site of that contest will be announced after the quarterfinal round, and will also serve as the venue for the ECAC Finals on Sunday, November 14.
The other half of the bracket features #2 seeded Drew University (12-7-1) vs. #7 Bard College (10-9) and #3 FDU-Florham (14-6-2) hosting #6 St. Joseph’s College (LI) (13-7-1).
Already this season, NJCU owns wins over Old Westbury (8-1, September 11) and St. Joseph’s (2-1, September 15). The Knights have lost twice to New Jersey Athletic Conference foe Richard Stockton in Pomona, NJ, including a 1-0 tense battle in the NJAC Quarterfinals on October 30 during NJCU’s last outing. FDU-Florham outlasted NJCU, 3-2, in double overtime in Madison, NJ on September 5.
Brockport, a member of the State University of New York Athletic Conference, went 8-8 overall and 3-6 in the league. The Golden Eagles last played on October 26, but did not qualify for their conference tournament.
NJCU has never faced Brockport in women’s soccer and the game will also be the Knights’ first-ever meeting with any current member of the SUNYAC.
Fifth-year head coach ROBERT BIELAN was pleased with his program’s second-straight post-season invite. “In the beginning of the season we had three major goals—make the NJAC playoffs, which we did, beat last year’s [won-loss] record, which we did and make a return trip to the ECACs, which we are. We had more talent this season and we did a lot of things differently. We went with a smaller, but better quality squad to have higher impact trainings. We’re happy with what we have achieved and we’re looking forward to the ECAC Tournament for the second year in a row.”
NJCU has no seniors this season and owns the 32nd highest scoring offense among 410 Division III schools at 3.19 goals per game. The Knights have been led by Second-Team All-NJAC selection and junior forward JULIA CASERES (Union, NJ/Union), who is responsible for 25 goals, 10 assists and 60 points. She leads the NJAC in goals and points and currently ranks No. 2 in Division III out of thousands of players in total points and tied for third nationally in total goals.
A quartet of Honorable Mention All-NJAC standouts have also played major roles in the Knights’ success. Junior JENNIFER ALBUJA (Union City, NJ/Hoboken) earned All-NJAC accolades as a defender, playing roughly half the season at sweeper. She also is third on the team with 10 goals and two assists for 22 points as a striker. Sophomore forward ASHLEY CUNHA (Edison, NJ/Edison) is second on the club in goals (11) and points (29) and has added seven assists.
Junior goalkeeper LAURA ROBINSON (Edison, NJ/Edison) earned All-NJAC accolades by making remarkable saves on a routine basis and leads the conference with 102 stops. Junior center midfielder KATLIN VARGO (Edison, NJ/Union Catholic) has four assists and is instrumental as a defensive center midfielder who also contributes with her solid corner and free kicks.
Brockport is led by junior goalie Erin Asquith (Arcade, NY), a Second-Team All-SUNYAC selection, who owns a 1.02 goals against average and has pitched four shutouts. Senior midfielder Abby Smith (Mexico, NY) led the Golden Eagles with eight goals and sophomore midfielder Sarah Lawson (West Seneca, NY) has delivered a school record 13 assists.
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