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Women's Soccer Team Suffers Frustrating Loss in OT
At Region 19 Championship

West Windsor, N.J. -- Just seconds prior to the end of the first overtime in the Region 19 championship game on Oct. 30, the women's soccer team's dream of advancing to the NJCAA District Tournament ended following an unlikely goal by Burlington. According to Head Coach Jodie Ricciardi, a Burlington player, with the wind at her back, took a shot from about 35 yards out that went up and over the head of goalie Chelsea Quinlan without ever touching the ground. And that was that.

After Burlington went up 1-0 early in the game, most of the action took place at Burlington's end, as the Vikings offense threatened repeatedly. Forward Cristina Alonso, who scored two goals in Mercer's 3-0 victory over Sussex in the semis, finally found the goal with about 20 minutes remaining in the second half. Said Ricciardi, "After our goal, we continued to dominate through the rest of regulation and throughout overtime, but just couldn't find the net!"

That the Vikings held the undefeated Burlington squad to a 1-1 tie for most of the 100 minutes of play says a lot about how far this team has come. In September, the Vikings lost to Burlington 3-0, but according to Ricciardi, who completes her fourth season as head coach, her players hit their stride as the season progressed. "We had many injuries at the beginning and then more throughout our season. This forced us to move players to different positions, so it took us longer to mesh as a team. Fortunately we came together at the right time and did very well at the end."

The Vikings ended the season with a record of 7-8-1. Within Region 19 Division I, their record, including their two games in the playoffs, was 5-2-1

Alonso was named Player of the Year for Region 19 women's soccer. Named to the All-Region First Team were Alonso and midfielder Marissa Segal (East Windsor, NJ). Named to the Second Team were defenders Irene Calabria Nuevo (Madrid, Spain) and Brittney Fornarotto (Ewing, NJ). Alonso, Calabria Nuevo and Segal were also selected to the All-Garden State Athletic Conference First Team; Second Team selections included Fornarotto and forward Jess Villalba (Cookstown, NJ)

Ricciardi is optimistic about the team's prospects in 2011. "We have a very talented freshman class this year that will continue to improve and be great leaders next year. We are already working hard to recruit another strong freshman class to replace the sophomores from this year who made a big impact for our team."

Ricciardi was assisted this season by Mike DeAngelis, Joe Franc and Bobbie Gioscio.

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