[NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN] Sophomore Carmelina Puopolo scored twice in the opening 11 minutes of the second half to give
St. Rose a 2-1 win over two-time defending champion Grand Valley State and capture its first NCAA Division II women's title.
Grand Valley State came into the game with a 20--0-4 record and a 14-game winning streak in the NCAA Tournament, but keeper Jessica Gerski made five saves to help preserve the win after Puopolo's goals erased the Lakers' 1-0 win.
The Golden Knights (24-1-1) had lost in the semifinals at the previous three Division II final fours.
“This is incredible," said Saint Rose head coach Laurie Darling Gutheil. "I’m just so proud of these girls. We’ve overcome so many obstacles and our girls did such a good job coming out and doing what they needed to do. They’ve worked so hard and it’s the best thing to be rewarded as the national champion. It’s such a long run to get here that by the time you get out there the girls have given all they have just to get to this point. So once you’re here, it just comes down to heart and effort and that’s why we’re sitting here with this trophy right now.”
Dec. 3 in Pensacola, Fla.
St. Rose 2 Grand Valley State 1. Goals: Puopolo 18 (unassisted), Puopolo 19 (Harpster) 48; Botts 20 (unassisted) 33.
St. Rose -- Gerski, Harpster, Fernandes, Bond, N.D'Errico, Cuffari, Morton, Godin, G.D'Errico, Barry, Puopolo. Subs: Meli, Herbert.
Grand Valley State -- Parise, Kimble, Klosterman, Megan Brown, Callen, Mruz, Botts, Maria Brown, Addison, Mira, Socia. Subs: Shaba, Odendaal, Marlow, Fiscus, Trost, Ward.
Referee: Deb Coleman.