COLONIE — The College of Saint Rose women’s soccer team scored three times within a 22-minute stretch late in the first half en route to a 4-1 victory over Molloy for the NCAA Division II East Region title Friday at Afrim’s Sports Park.
Senior forward Nina Predanic, the 2019 Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year and a CoSIDA Academic All-American, led the charge for the 20-2-1 Golden Knights with a goal and two assists.
The 11th ranked Golden Knights advance to meet sixth-ranked Bloomsburg (18-2-1) in Sunday’s national quarterfinal at Afrim’s. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. The Huskies scored with less than six minutes remaining to claim their second consecutive Atlantic Region championship behind a 2-1 win versus West Chester in today’s first game.
Freshman forward Olivia Boucher, sophomore forward Kaelyn Britt, and senior forward Caitlyn Dabagian accounted for the other three goals. Senior keeper Marika Laurendeau made four of her five saves after halftime to keep Molloy (15-5-3) in check.
Overall, Saint Rose generated a 23-10 shot advantage, including 15-4 in on-target drives.
Predanic made it 1-0 Golden Knights at the 9:22 mark with her 20th goal of the year to validate a strong Golden Knights start. However, the Lions countered a mere 22 seconds later to fill the tight confines of the indoor bubble with a bit of mystery. Junior midfielder Dana Poetzsch lined a shot from 15-yards out on the right flank into the far top-left corner to level the affair 1-1 with her 24th goal of the year.
Saint Rose kept its composure and applied pressure with some great spacing in the attacking third that yielded multiple threats that paid off as intermission drew nearer. Boucher touched in a deflection that Predanic initiated with 20:54 elapsed, Dabagian redirected a Predanic feed at the 33:06 mark, and less than ten minutes later Britt drove home her own rebound from deep inside the area after Molloy junior keeper Jackie Carty stopped Britt’s initial drive.
Carty was forced to be on her toes all afternoon as she wound up with 11 saves.
The Golden Knights have now won 20 games for the eighth time in a 12-year span and the first time since its 2014 national championship run.
Predanic is only the second player in school history to score 20 goals. Former National Player of the Year Carmelina Puopolo did it twice.
The Golden Knights have made six national semifinal appearances within the last 12 years.
Molloy 1 0 — 1
Saint Rose 4 0 — 4
Saint Rose scoring: Predanic 1-2, Boucher 1-0, Dabagian 1-0, Britt 1-0. Molloy scoring: Poetzsch 1-0, Mauro 0-1. Goalie saves: Molloy, Jackie Carty, 11 saves; Saint Rose, Marika Laurendeau, 5 saves.