Ewing, NJ (11/1/11) – Less than 24 hours after their thrilling contest against William Paterson in the opening round of the NJAC Tournament, the Red Hawks battled toe-to-toe with No. 21 and second seed The College of New Jersey before falling 1-0 to the Lions in the semifinals at Lions Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Nikki Migliori scored on a direct kick from 34 yards out 54 seconds into the second half as the Lions knocked off Montclair State for the second time this season while advancing to the championship game on Friday, November 4 against fourth-seeded Richard Stockton. The Ospreys upset No. 1 seed Rowan 4-3 in the other semifinal.
Freshman goalkeeper Gina Policastro (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick) made six saves for Montclair State, which fell to 13-5-2. The Red Hawks will now play the waiting game to see if it can claim an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament when pairings are announced on Monday, November 7. MSU was ranked ninth in last week's NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional rankings.
After a scoreless first half, Migliori took a direct kick from 35 yards out. She hit a hard shot to the right corner that was partially screened by senior forward Brittany McGinley (Cranford, NJ/Cranford) just before it rippled the back of the net. It was Migliori’s second goal of the season.
The first 35 minutes of play offered limited scoring chances as both defenses were able to stave off any serious offensive threats. The Lions heated up in the final ten minutes as McGinley had a pair of quality attempts on net. She ripped a shot on goal from just outside the box with 41:08 mark, but Policastro was there to make the save.
With less than 30 seconds on the clock, Migliori sent a corner kick that bounced around in the box to the feet of McGinley. She quickly got off a shot that just cleared the crossbar as the opening half ended deadlocked at zero.
TCNJ pushed hard for a second goal to provide breathing room, but the Red Hawk defense would bend but not break. Sophomore Sloan DePiero (Ramsey, NJ/Ramsey) blistered a shot in the 66th minute, but Policastro dove to her right to make the save. In the 75th minute, junior Allyson Anderson (Point Pleasant, NJ/Point Pleasant) came close again, firing a low shot that grazed past the right post.
Lions’ freshman Cristina Gacos (Sea Girt, NJ/Wall) earned her eighth shutout of the year and first post-season win. She made three saves in the game.