BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College women's soccer team won a pair of Landmark Conference matches in the final week of the regular season to not only clinch a berth in the Landmark Conference Tournament for the second straight fall but to also clinch the program's first home tournament match since 2008.
The Greyhounds are the second seed in the 2016 Landmark Conference Tournament and will host third seed The Catholic University of America in a semifinal match on Tuesday, November 1 beginning at 7:00 p.m. at John Makuvek Field in Bethlehem. The last time Moravian played a home Landmark Conference Tournament contest was on November 8, 2008 when the Greyhounds defeated Catholic, 1-0 in double-overtime, to win the program's only Landmark Conference Championship.
Third-year Head Coach Jeff Ykoruk has the Blue and Grey in the postseason for a second straight year after making the Landmark Conference Semifinals as the fourth seed last fall. Ykoruk has also guided the Hounds to a 6-2 mark in October with a 5-1 slate in Landmark action with the lone setback being a 1-0 double-overtime loss at Drew. Moravian has yielded just five goals during the last month while scoring 12 times.
Sophomore forward Gabby Stelzmiller, this week's Landmark Conference Offensive Athlete of the Week, leads the Greyhounds with eight goals and three assists for 19 points while senior forward Valentina Margiottiello has contributed four goals and six assists this season. The duo has combined to go 3-for-3 on penalty kicks this fall.
Freshman defender Paige Weiss has netted three goals while junior forward Abby Guman has a goal and two assists. Freshmen midfielder Juliana Caranci and junior forward Emily Crowley each have a goal and an assist while freshman forward Taylor Irr and sophomore defender Shae Duka each have one marker. Senior forward Hannah LaFronz and junior Lauren Bertucci have both added an assist for the Hounds.
Junior goalie Jessica Lawton, this week's Landmark Conference Defensive Athlete of the Week for the third time this fall, has posted 67 saves this season with a 0.97 goals-against average, four shutouts and an 8-5-1 record in 1,298 minutes. Freshman goalie Jamie Daly has seen 180 minutes of action with 13 saves, a 1.50 goals-against average and a 1-1 record this fall.
Catholic enters the match with an 11-3 record this fall but the Cardinals are just 1-2 over the last three weeks with a 2-1 loss at Moravian on October 15 and a 2-1 double-overtime setback to The University of Scranton, the top seed in the Landmark Conference Tournament that will host fourth seed Susquehanna University in the other semifinal contest on Tuesday.
Senior forward Lindsay Aleman leads Catholic in scoring with 15 goals and three assists for 33 points while sophomore midfielder Taylor Pisk has seven goals and three assists. Junior forward Nia Gomez and freshman forward Elizabeth Johnson each have five goals for the Cardinals.
Sophomore keeper Christina Peyroux has a 0.73 goals-against average, 31 saves, a shutout and a 4-2 record in 741 minutes of action while junior goalie Ally Marcello has a 0.83 goals-against average, 22 saves and a 7-1 record in 540 minutes in goal. The duo has combined on five shutouts this fall.
Tuesday's match marks the fourth time that Moravian and Catholic have met in the postseason. The Cardinals had a 3-0 win in the semifinals in 2015 while the Greyhounds had the overtime win for the conference title in 2008 and a 2-0 victory in 2007 in the semifinals. Moravian is 3-6-1 in Landmark Conference Tournament history with the conference celebrating its 10th year in 2016-17. The Greyhounds last advanced to the Landmark Conference Championship match in 2012 by topping Drew University on penalty kicks, 4-3, after the teams played to a scoreless draw.