It only consisted of nine matches and lasted for a little more than a month, but it was a memorable campaign for the Siena women’s soccer program.
Head coach Steve Karbowski’s squad fell 4-0 in Wednesday’s NCAA tournament first-round game to Arizona State, a season-ending defeat at Johnson Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina, that served as the Saints’ first loss of the year.
“It was a short season as far as number of games,” Karbowski said, “but it was the most full and complete season that we’ve ever had.”
Making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2015 and playing against its first-ever Pac-12 opponent, Siena (6-1-2) fell behind Arizona State (9-5-2) in the game’s 10th minute off a score from Nicole Douglas. The game stayed at 1-0 in Arizona State’s favor into the second half, but the Sun Devils added goals from Lucy Johnson in the 62nd minute, Lieske Carleer in the 70th and Cori Sullivan in the 89th.
Siena had only allowed three goals in its first eight matches of the season. Offensively, Siena averaged 2.6 goals per game in its first six contests, but was shut out in its final two games. The Saints played Monmouth to a 0-0 score in the MAAC championship game before winning 4-2 in penalty kicks to secure its third-ever bid to the NCAA tournament.
“Just couldn’t put one in,” Karbowski said during a post-game teleconference. “When it was 1-0, 2-0, we needed to find a goal — and they wore us down a little bit just with their athleticism. [Arizona State is] just a very organized team that possessed the ball really well. Proud of our team. They fought to the end.”
Leslie Adams, the MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year, made six saves. In all, Arizona State attempted 24 shots to Siena’s seven, and only one of the Saints’ shots was on goal.
Arizona State advanced to play ninth-seeded Duke on Saturday.
Siena was picked to finish in eight place in the MAAC’s 2020-21 season, which started on March 25 for the Saints. Siena won 6-0 that day against Iona, the start of a surprising unbeaten run for the Saints to the MAAC championship.
Siena senior Deanna Lomino said it “would’ve been easy” for the Saints to be discouraged as they started their abbreviated season, which was moved from the fall because of restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the campaign became one the team is “not going to forget” as it heads into what will be an offseason that lasts for only a few months.
“Each and every time we stepped out on that field, we gave our best effort,” Lomino said.