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Niagara women's soccer faces top-seeded Monmouth in MAAC semis

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

huddle
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- After advancing in the MAAC tournament on Sunday, the Niagara Purple Eagles eye a trip to the conference final on Thursday when they take on the top-seeded Monmouth Hawks at 5 p.m.

Scene Setter

  • Niagara, who came into the playoff opener winning two of their last three regular season home games, defeated Rider at home to open the playoffs on Sunday, 2-1.
  • Annie Ibey recorded her team-leading ninth and 10th goals of the season, while Kelsey Araujo earned two assists. In addition, Veda Hensel also picked up an assist for Niagara, and Shania van Nulandearned five saves in goal. 
  • The Purple Eagles have now won a playoff game in back-to-back postseason tournaments, and three of the last four times the team has qualified for the postseason.
  • A win over Monmouth on Thursday would mark the program's first true road win since 2006, when the team defeated Fairfield in the conference semifinals en route to the program's first MAAC Championship.
 
Kickoff Tidbits

  • Ibey, a three-time MAAC Rookie of the Week recipient, leads the Purple Eagles in goals (10) and points (23), and is tied for second in assists (three). Ibey is second both in goals and points across the MAAC.
  • Ibey's six game-winning goals lead the MAAC and are in a tie for the fourth-most in the country.
  • Araujo leads the team and is second in the conference in both shots (76) and shots per game (4.22).  
  • The Purple Eagles lead the MAAC in shots per game (17.33) and are third in goals (27), goals per game 1.50) and shutouts (seven).
  • The Purple Eagles donned an 8-1-0 record at Niagara Field this season, their best performance at home since 2014 (9-1-1).
  • Three Purple Eagles received postseason awards from the MAAC on Oct. 30. Ibey and Araujo both made All-MAAC Second team, while Ibey and Ida Miceli were both selected to the All-MAAC Rookie Team.
 
Purple Eagles In The MAAC Tournament

  • The Purple Eagles are 8-10-2 in the MAAC Tournament since 1999.
  • Niagara has won the MAAC Tournament once in program history, claiming the title in 2006. The Purple Eagles are eyeing their first trip to the final since 2009. The team also reached the final back in 2003 and 2005.
  • The team's win over Rider marked the team's first win in regulation in the MAAC Tournament since 2014. 

Across The Pitch
Monmouth Hawks (14-3-1, 9-1-0 MAAC)

  • After falling to Rider to open conference play on Oct. 16, Monmouth has finished the season winning their nine remaining games, including a 2-0 win at home against Niagara on Oct. 17.
  • Monmouth leads the conference in numerous categories, including points per game (6.44), goals (39), goals per game (2.17), assists (38), assists per game (2.11), goals allowed (seven), goals against average (0.38) and shutouts (11).
  • Amanda Knaub has been solid in goal this season, playing in 18 contests and allowing just six goals on 60 shots (.900 save percentage).
  • On Tuesday, 14 Monmouth players earned All-MAAC honors, including a sweep of the three major award winners. Maddie Gibson was named MAAC Offensive Player of the Year, while Jessica Johnson was chosen as MAAC Defensive Player of the Year. Jill Conklin won Rookie of the Year, the fourth Hawk to earn the award in the six seasons the program has been in the conference.
  • The Hawks, who have won the MAAC Championship each of the last two seasons, have not lost in the conference tournament since Nov. 6, 2015, falling to the Siena Saints at home, 2-1.
  • Monmouth is 12-1-0 in the all-time record between the two programs. In addition, the Hawks are 6-0 in the series since they joined the MAAC in 2013, including a 1-0 playoff contest last season that ended Niagara's 2017 season.