The College of Staten Island women’s soccer team started their 2014 campaign with a tough defeat, surrendering a late goal in a 2-1 affair against visiting Illinois Institute of Technology as part of the 3rd Annual CSI Fall Kick-Off Classic at the CSI Soccer Complex.  CSI never led in the game, as a goal by Adrianna Maron with 10:34 to play proved to be the game winner.  CSI fell to 0-1 with the loss, while the Scarlet Hawks, playing in their first-ever NCAA Division III contest, improved to 1-0.

It was a lackluster start for both sides, as it appeared that both teams struggled for early chances, never truly committing to heavy numbers offensively.  When both teams were able to advance, steady goalkeeping by CSI’s Victoria Donegan and IIT’s Roxanne Myers were on center stage, as both made good runs to break up passes and would-be crosses.  Still, IIT was able to break in on a handful of odd-man rushed, attacking consistently from the left side, until finally they would hit paydirt first.

Struggling to clear the ball after a Hawks rush, the Dolphins turned the ball over directly in front of their own goal box, and Maron was in prime position to find a running Lorena Souza on the right side.  Souza broke free passed a defender and fired in a shot that beat Donegan on the near side, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.

CSI meanwhile was not getting many chances, but the opportunistic Dolphins pounced on a golden opportunity just minutes later.  CSI all-time assist leader Melissa Gelardi was the culprit, as the senior raced in on the right side and put in a beautiful bending cross into the center of the goal mouth.  Fellow senior and co-captain Samantha Wysokowski timed her run to the ball perfectly, and placed a gorgeous header into the top shelf of the goal passed Myers to knot the score at 1-1 less than five minutes later.

The goal energized the Dolphins, but although they held a marginal advantage in possession in the final 10-15 minutes, they did not muster another shot until halftime, and the score stayed even.

Both teams committed to high intensity defense in the second half, and the chances were limited.  When the chances did come, they came in waves.  First, CSI put on the heavy pressure, and at one point had four consecutive corner kicks that generated some great chances.  The last of which almost ended up in the net, but Wysokowski’s header was finger-tipped by Myers and bounced off of the crossbar and out-of-play.  Unfortunately for the Dolphins, it would be their final shot on goal in the game.

Finally, persistence would finally pay off for the Hawks.  Always looking to counter, the Hawks were whistled for 13 offsides calls in the game, but inside of 11 minutes to go, the Hawks finally beat the trap, when a Souza lead pass through the middle found a wide open Maron, who split a pair of defenders and raced in all alone on CSI keeper Kristy Colangelo, who started the second frame.  The attacker trotted in left-to-right, then buried a shot inside the far post to give her team the lead with 10:34 to play.

From there, IIT devoted most of their players to defending and CSI was frustrated time and again trying to go to goal.  By the final whistle CSI was out-shot, 17-9 (11-3 on goal), as the Dolphins struggled to get any offense by anyone but Wysokowski, who accounted for seven of CSI’s 9 shots.

With little rest, CSI will return to play New Jersey City University tomorrow afternoon at 4pm, while IIT will face off against John Jay College, at 2pm.  In the afternoon’s final game, NJCU did defeat John Jay by a 3-0 count.