Miller’s 70th Minute Goal Lifts No. 4 Delaware to 1-0 Victory over No. 5 Hofstra in CAA Quarterfinals
November 3, 2011
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Ali Miller (at right) proved Thursday night why she was voted a first team All-Colonial Athletic Association women’s soccer selection.
The University of Delaware junior forward tallied her first-ever postseason goal with 20 minutes left to play as fourth-seeded Delaware knocked off Hofstra University 1-0 in the CAA quarterfinals, advancing to Friday's semifinal showdown against host, top seed, and No. 25 ranked William & Mary.
Miller’s marker came in the 70th minute and proved to be the game-winner, giving the Hens their first postseason win a quarterfinal shootout victory over William & Mary in 2005.
Delaware (10-6-4), which reached double figures in wins for the first time since 2005, now heads to the CAA semifinals for the first time since that 2005 campaign and for the eighth time in school history. Hofstra, which won the CAA title in 2005 and 2007 and finished as runner-up in 2008 and 2010, ends its season with a record of 10-8.
“I feel like we played one of the better games we’ve played all year,” said Delaware coach Scott Grzenda, who won his 204th career game as the program’s only coach. “We know we can create opportunities and attack and now we know we have players who can finish. It was a pleasure to watch.”
Delaware draws top-seeded William & Mary for the semifinals for a game that will be played at 7:30 p.m. at the Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field. The Tribe earned a bye with their 15-2-2 overall record and a 10-1-0 mark in league play.
The Hens snared a 1-0 lead with 20 minutes left in the game as Miller capitalized on a Pride turnover, burying her 13th goal of the year. With her tally, which came from 24 yards outside the box, Miller needs just one goal to catch Kristy Hendrickson’s UD single-season mark of 14 goals set in 1994.
Miller becomes just the third-ever Blue Hen to record 13 goals in a season.
“I looked up and saw that I had room,” said Miller of the game-winning shot, her second against Hofstra this season. “I aimed for the lower corner and was glad it went in. Winning that game is one of the best feelings I’ve had in my life.”
The Hens are now 7-1-2 this season when Miller scores a goal.
The two teams may have gone to halftime scoreless, but the Hens poured on the pressure, out-shooting the Pride 11-5 in the first 45 minutes. Miller led all shooters, putting two attempts on goal while Amy Pickard and Dianna Marinaro each put one attempt on goal. The Pride managed just one first-half shot on target, but Blue Hen keeper Breanna Stemler made one save.
Hofstra was forced to play with just 10 on the field after Brooke Bendernagel was given her second yellow card of the match. The Pride disadvantage came in the 62nd minute.
Behind Miller’s goal, Delaware logged its first CAA postseason victory since joining the conference in 2002. The quarterfinal victory was the first time the Hens have knocked off Hofstra in the postseason.
The win also helped Delaware improve to 5-0-0 against schools located in the state of New York, including beating Hofstra for a second time this season. The Hens previously knocked off Hofstra 3-2 in Newark, a game in which Miller also scored the game-winning goal.
Delaware’s offensive pressure was evident throughout, taking 20 shots, including 11 in the first stanza. The Pride took 12 in the game, managing five in the first half and seven in the second. Stemler made five saves to earn the clean sheet, including four stops in the second half, holding off the Pride’s last-minute pressure.
Delaware posted its first postseason shutout since blanking New Hampshire 1-0 in the America East quarterfinals in 2001.
Admission to the Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Championships has been set by the conference at $5 for adults, $3 for youth (ages 2-17) and students from participating schools can attend for free with valid ID from their institute.
The four remaining teams are vying for the league’s automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division I women’s soccer tournament.