NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College women’s soccer team fell just short of a miraculous comeback losing at Niagara 4-3 early Saturday afternoon. The Gaels trailed 4-0 with roughly 30 minutes remaining, but a flurry of goals in the final third of the game put them within striking distance.
The Purple Eagles came out firing in the first half, peppering senior Iona goalkeeper Taylor Rice with 18 shots. Emily Phillips scored in the 17th minute off assists from Haillie Price and Amanda Gallo to give Niagara the lead. Just 29 seconds later, Price added a second goal to make it 2-0 for the home team. The senior forward made it a hat trick with an even 31:00 gone in the first half.
Rice made three saves in the first half for the Maroon & Gold as the offense registered four shots. Her efforts kept Iona in the game and in the second half the Gaels had one of their best offensive showings of the season.
Before Iona could get on the comeback trail, however, Niagara made the deficit 4-0 in the early portion of the second with a goal from Hayley Besaw.
Iona’s offense got on track in the 65th minute with sophomore Charlotte Stuart scoring an unassisted goal. Stuarty won possession from a defender and buried her opportunity. Eight minutes later, junior Erika Flowers cut the deficit in half when she got position in the box and took control of an inbound pass from freshman Mariana Jaramillo. From there she squeezed it in for her first goal of the year.
The score remained 4-2 until the 85:51 mark when sophomore Marisa Bentley recorded her first tally of the season off assists from Flowers and freshman Corinne Burns. It would be as close as the Gaels would get, however as Iona fell to 0-1 in MAAC play.
Iona’s hosts Monmouth on Wednesday (Sep. 30) at Mazzella Field.