A familiar scenario played out for the LIU Post women’s soccer team the past three years. The Pioneers would reach the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament and come up a goal short.
They had been eliminated by St. Rose, Bridgeport and Adelphi — and then came Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Adelphi in Garden City.
“It’s massive,” said junior forward Andrea Huntzinger, who scored one goal and set up another. “We always choke. We always play a good game against them, but it feels like we fall on the goal line every time. It’s always like 3-2 or 1-0. It’s nice to finally win.”
Post lost to Adelphi in the second round last year, 2-1.
“We knew what it took, what we had to do to win this game,” said freshman forward Erin O’Connor, whose two goals broke her eight-game scoreless drought. “The coaches really pumped us up.”
The Pioneers (17-3-1) reached the East Regional at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, this weekend.
“We wanted to go one step forward,” coach Mark Dawson said. “Just get to practice on Tuesday, and it all will be good.”
O’Connor, who hadn’t found the net in a month, struck twice within a 13:25 span to help Post to a surprising 3-1 halftime advantage. The Ward Melville graduate slotted home Huntzinger’s right-wing cross at 17:16.
“We knew the goals are going to come,” Dawson said. “You don’t see her on the stat sheet, but she has a lot of the second assists on the goals she is creating. Today was her turn.”
After Kellenberg graduate Kerianne Scorce equalized for Adelphi (15-5) with the first of her two scores, a header at 17:54, Post broke open the game with two goals in 15 seconds.
Post goalkeeper Hillevi Eklow saved Scorce’s header and started a counterattack with a quick distribution to Julia Duffy, who found O’Connor. She beat keeper Isabel Sandstrom 1 v 1 for a 2-1 lead at 30:41.
The Pioneers regained the ball off the ensuing kickoff and Huntzinger got behind the defense and tallied her ninth goal this season into the lower left corner at 30:56.
“I think Adelphi panicked a little bit because they usually get the first goal,” Huntzinger said.
Scorce pulled one back at 67:24 as the Pioneers held off Adelphi.
“The kids showed good composure, especially for a really young group in a difficult environment,” Dawson said. “It’s a good moment to get through.”
And perhaps more.
“I’m just so excited,” O’Connor said. “I’ve never been in this position before. I love the intensity of the game, how high paced they are. It’s so different from a regular-season game. NCAA, the tournament is very big for us. I hope we win it.”