CUA rides strong offensive showing to 5-0 win over Griffins

WASHINGTON – CUA opened play in the ECAC Tournament on Wednesday with a convincing 5-0 win over Gwynedd-Mercy inside Cardinal Stadium.  Meredith Chandler netted a hat trick for the Cardinals, as they improve to 15-4 on the season.

CUA had its way with the Griffins all day long, outshooting the visitors 20-4, including a 13-0 margin in the opening 35 minutes.  The Cardinals were also awarded nine penalty corners to Gwynedd-Mercy's four.

Freshman Alison Dillard went the distance in goal for CUA and stopped four shots during that time, while Christa Breidenstein made 12 saves for the Griffins (13-8).

"This was a great team effort today," head coach Gia Cillizza said.  "We were strong with our passing, we rebounded well, we finished; I was very pleased with the way the entire team came out and really played together."

Chandler gave CUA an early lead with her goal at the 3:44 mark of the opening half.  Emma Dixon assisted on the goal, which came following a shot attempt by Tracey Scanlon.

Less than two minutes after her first score, Chandler made it 2-0 Cardinals with her 12th goal of the season at the 5:21 mark.  Kendall Petschauer assisted as CUA took control of the game.    

Just two minutes after Chandler's second goal, Scanlon got into the act with her fifth score of the season, this one coming off another assist from Petschauer.  That gave CUA a 3-0 lead just 7:17 into the game.

"That was great to get off to such a fast start," Cillizza explained.  "I knew as soon as I saw the girls today that they were ready to play and ready to compete at a high level."

She continued, "After this past weekend (at Juniata) it was important for us to be focused and to prove that we are still a strong team, so it was nice to come out and set the tone right from the start." 

The Cardinals were less than satisfied with their three-goal lead as they took the next six shots and looked to up their lead.  The Griffins were finally able to slow the Cardinals for a sustained period of time though, and sent the game into halftime with CUA up 3-0.

Early in the second half CUA's offense got right back in gear when Petschauer got into the scoring column with her fifth goal of the season, which came at the 36:48 mark.  Mary Swarthout assisted on the goal, and that made it a 4-0 game. 

At the 50:17 mark, Chandler finished off her hat trick with her third score of the afternoon, this one coming on a feed from Dixon, and the Cardinals were well on their way.  "Meredith was full of energy today, she was getting to every loose ball and she was making plays," Cillizza said.  "Before the game we talked with our forwards and explained that they needed to get to every ball within their vicinity and they did just that."  

The CUA defense did the rest as the Cardinals limited the Griffins to only one shot in the final 20 minutes.  The shutout is CUA's tenth of the season. 

Cillizza added, "Alison Dillard did a great job in goal for us.  She had some very high quality play back there, she was vocal, I could hear her directing our defense and overall I thought it was great how we stayed together and got the shutout.  I was very pleased with the way our entire team performed." 

CUA will now move onto the semifinals of the ECAC Tournament where the Cardinals will play host to No. 4 Oneonta State on Saturday, November 13 inside Cardinal Stadium.  Game time is set for 5:00 in what is the first of two semifinal contests to be played on CUA's campus that day.  

"Right now we don't know very much about Oneonta State," Cillizza explained.  "We're going to watch some tape and get rested up for Saturday.  The important thing is for us to take care of ourselves and fine tune the little things."

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