Men's Soccer Falls In League Title Game
While the University of Hartford women's soccer team had one of the nation's best starts, it was the men's team that was on fire at season's end–a streak that almost carried the Hawks into the promised land. Now, both seasons have ended with much hope for the future.
The men's squad fell short of capturing the program’s second America East Tournament championship on Sunday evening when it fell to the host Stony Brook Seawolves by a 4-2 final at La Valle Stadium. Stony Brook, which captured its third conference championship, will receive the league’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore David Bernhardsson and rookies Atobra Ampadu and Damion Lowe were named to the America East All-Tournament Team. Ampadu and Bernhardsson each tallied a goal and an assist during the tournament while Lowe added an assist.
The Seawolves didn’t waste any time to light up the scoreboard as Will Casey, a sophomore midfielder, reached the back of the net in the third minute. Hartford countered in the 17th minute when it capitalized on a free kick. After Ampadu got taken down from 28-yards out, Bernhardsson took the honors on the kick and rifled a high shot which sailed to the upper left of the nylon out of reach of Stony Brook keeper Stefan Manz.
Just before the halftime break, Stony Brook regained the lead in the 42nd minute thanks to Fernandes’ first of two goals on the evening.He completed his goal scoring just 4:33 into the second half to provide a cushion for Stony Brook.
Hartford managed a late goal in the 84th minute to close the gap at 4-2. Inside of the box from just eight yards out, Anthony Santaga tracked down the ball in a scramble and easily knocked in his team-leading sixth marker of the season.
Hartford rebounded from a 1-5 start to reach the America East Championship for the second time in program history and close out the 2011 campaign 8-9-4.
The women’s soccer program enjoyed one of its best seasons in history. The Hawks carried an undefeated record of 13-0-3 into the regular season finale against Boston University, and were among the final six undefeated teams in America.
Hartford's impressive record led to a five straight weeks of being ranked among the top 10 schools in the Northeast, according to rankings issued by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The Hawks moved up to as high as fourth in that poll before losing at BU to conclude the regular season. A subsequent 1-0 setback to Albany in the America East Conference Tournament ended the team’s quest for a conference crown, but its 13-2-3 final record tied for the fewest losses in a season since women’s soccer debuted at the University in 1984.
Sophomore goalkeeper Erin Quinlan backed a stellar Hawks defense that recorded 12 shutouts during the season. Quinlan, who played all but 39 minutes in net, was among the nation’s top five in both save percentage and goals-against average. She was honored as America East Goalkeeper of the Year.