(With contributions from Western Connecticut Sports Information)
DANBURY, Conn. – Junior forward Ariana D'Aurio (Cheshire, Conn./Holy Cross) scored her 15th goal of the season in the opening minute of play and the third-seeded Western Connecticut State University Colonials went on to defeat the sixth-seeded University of Southern Maine Huskies 2-0 Thursday night at the Westside Athletic Complex in a first-round game of the 2012 Little East Conference Women's Soccer Championship Tournament.
The victory moves the Colonials (15-3-2) into a semifinal match with second seed and instate rival Eastern Connecticut State University on Saturday (11:00 a.m.). The loss ends the Huskies (3-14-0) season.
Western Connecticut wasted little time getting on the board when it took a 1-0 lead after only 18 seconds had been played. Senior Cecelia Diaz (Prospect, Conn.) attacked with the ball on the left side of the Southern Maine defense and dished a perfect pass D'Aurio who delivered the ball to the back of the net before Southern Maine senior keeper Katie Cobb (Lewiston, Maine) could recover. In spite of holding a 9-2 advantage in shots over the first 45 minutes, Western's advantage remained 1-0 at the half as Cobb made three saves.
Western got an insurance goal less than five minutes into the second half. After a Southern Maine foul was called just inches outside the top of the box, senior Tracy Sales (Cumberland, R.I.) drilled a direct kick over the wall of Husky defenders, past the outstretched hands of Cobb, and into the top right corner of the goal for a 2-0 Colonial lead. The goal was the seventh of the campaign for Sales.
With the two-goal cushion, Western Conn. clamped down on defense and advanced to Saturday's semifinal with a 2-0 final margin of victory.
For the game, the Colonials held a 13-6 advantage in shots, but the Huskies had a 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
Western Conn. starting goalkeeper, senior Jamie Trayer (Oakville, Conn.), made one save in 45 minutes of play, before giving way to senior Caitlin Avery (East Hampton, Conn.), who also made one save to secure the win in the second half. Cobb finished with four saves in a losing effort.