Durham, N.H. - The Stony Brook women's soccer team scored two goals off set pieces to defeat No. 3 New Hampshire, 2-1, in Thursday's America East Quarterfinal matchup in Durham, N.H. Senior Sa'sha Kershaw (Baltimore, Md.) scored on a free kick in the eighth minute, before junior Larissa Nysch (Dresher, Pa.) headed home a cross off a corner just 14 minutes later.
"We're very proud of this team, coming up here and winning in a tough place to play. New Hampshire is a good team and they came to play today, but so did we. A lot of credit should go to our upperclassmen, including Sa'sha [Kershaw] for getting that early goal and also Ashley [Castanio] for stopping a penalty kick. We came here with one goal in mind, and that was to beat New Hampshire, so we're happy to be advancing on to play Maine."
Stony Brook (10-6-3) opened the scoring in the eighth minute when UNH was whistled for a handball just outside the box. Kershaw stepped up for the free kick and drilled a low, hard shot through the wall and off the keeper's fingertips to make it 1-0.
The Seawolves doubled the lead through Nysch at 21:11 off another set piece. Freshman Stella Norman (Castle Rock, Colo.) took a corner from the right flag and Nysch met the ball with a powerful header in the center of the box for her eighth goal of the year.
Tara Fraprie pulled a goal back for the Wildcats (5-12-2) with just 1:07 remaining in the first half. Drea Nogueira touched the ball into the right corner for Jenna Shaddock, who swung a cross into the box for Fraprie to volley home from close range.
The Numbers Game
New Hampshire held a 27-12 edge in shot attempts.
Seawolves' keeper Ashley Castanio (Oceanside, N.Y.) made nine saves and earned her 10th win.
Nysch led the Seawolves with five shots and increased her point total to 19 on the season.
Stony Brook defeated UNH for the second time in two weeks, winning both matches by one-goal margins.
The Seawolves last appeared in the conference semifinals in 2010 when they also faced Maine. In that match, the Black Bears netted the game's first three goals before Colleen McKenna struck with 17 seconds left in a 3-1 Maine win.
Stony Brook has now advanced at least as far as the semifinals in five of the last six seasons.
Stony Brook won its 10th game of the season on Thursday, giving the Seawolves their first 10-win season since 2008 when the team finished 11-8-0.
Castanio came up huge in the 14th minute, diving to her right and stopping a penalty kick by UNH's Meghan Ledwith. The stop preserved the scoreline at 1-0 at the time and effectively swung momentum back in Stony Brook's favor.
Minutes before the Seawolves scored their second goal, junior Queli Ornelas (Palm Harbor, Fla.) was denied by Wildcats' keeper Erica Correa, who dove left and made a great save on a low, hard shot.
Norman hit the crossbar on a long free kick attempt eight minutes into the second half.
New Hampshire was then denied by the woodwork seven minutes later as Kirstyn Corder's header struck the bar after a corner kick. Corder then hit the bar yet again with a long-range effort with seven minutes left in the second half.
Freshman Kristen Baker (Easley, S.C.) made a big defensive play with 10 minutes remaining in regulation when she cleared a shot off the goalline to preserve the 2-1 scoreline.
Freshman Raven Edwards (West Orange, N.J.) nearly put the game out of reach with three minutes left when she raced down the field on a breakaway, but her shot hit the inside of the post and stayed out.
In Thursday's other quarterfinal, No. 4 Vermont held off No. 5 Albany in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw in Burlington, Vt. The Catamounts converted three spot kicks to the Great Danes' two to advance to a semifinal matchup against No. 1 Hartford on Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Seawolves will head to Orono, Maine on Sunday to face No. 2 Maine in the America East Semifinals at 1 p.m. Stony Brook defeated Maine during the regular season by a 5-1 score on Oct. 11.