Molloy's Angela Careddu, center, heads the ball between Saint Rose's...

Molloy's Angela Careddu, center, heads the ball between Saint Rose's Ciera Lundy, left, and Deanna Trongone, right, in the 2019 NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Eastern Regional Final in Colonie, N.Y., on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. Credit: Tim Roske/Tim Roske

COLONIE, N.Y. — Molloy’s women’s soccer season ended in defeat Friday afternoon but 2019 will still go down as a historic campaign for the Lions.

No. 3 Molloy fell to No. 1 Saint Rose, 4-1, in the NCAA Division II East Regional final at Afrim Sports Park near Albany. The result capped the Lions’ first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Saint Rose advances to the national quarterfinals.

“Nobody expected us in the beginning of the season to get as far as we did,” said Dana Poetzsch (Hicksville), who scored 25 goals this year to tie for the most in the nation. Her goal in the 10th minute tied the score at 1, before Saint Rose (20-2-1) pulled back ahead in the 21st minute and scored two more goals before halftime.

The result marked a bittersweet end to a history-making season for third-year coach Steve Price’s Lions, who won a program-record 15 games and also captured their first East Coast Conference championship with a 2-0 win over NYIT on Nov. 17.

The Lions (15-5-3) followed that up with a 1-0 win over No. 6 Bentley in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, before defeating No. 2 Mercy on penalty kicks in the regional semifinals.

Poetzsch, who earned first-team All-ECC honors, called the playoff run “something out of a fairy tale,” adding “it’s cool to prove people wrong and it’s cool to beat teams that beat us during the season.”

“She’s brilliant,” Price said of Poetzsch. “She plays with a smile on her face, she plays hard every single day at practice and she gives everything she’s got. She’s a joy to coach.”

At the other end of the pitch, the Lions featured goalkeeper Jackie Carty (East Islip), who led the conference in goals-against average (0.59) and save percentage (89.1 percent). Carty earned second-team All-Conference honors, along with teammate Sabrina Bell (Hicksville). Lauren Marinello (Calhoun) and Daria Castrogivanni (Commack) landed on the third team, and Price and his assistants were the United Soccer Coaches East Region Staff of the Year.

“We’ve got the best goalkeeper and I think we have the best offensive player in the region...and we have them both for one more year,” Price said of juniors Poetzsch and Carty. “We’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve...Now we have to build on that.”

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