BANGOR — Husson University’s women’s soccer team could be peaking at the right time.
Senior striker Michelle Manning collected her first collegiate hat trick and junior striker Alex Laniewski scored an important goal with 1:20 remaining in the first half as Husson blanked Thomas College of Waterville 5-0 in a North Atlantic Conference quarterfinal at Boucher Field on Wednesday.
Third seed Husson improved to 13-5-1 and extended its unbeaten streak to six games (5-0-1). Junior goalkeeper Rozlyn Petersen finished with three saves on four shots at goal to post her eighth shutout and run her scoreless streak to 394 minutes and 59 seconds.
The hard-working, sixth-seeded Terriers, with 17 freshmen and sophomores among their 20 players, wound up 6-11.
Four-time defending NAC champ Husson will travel to play the second-seeded University of Maine-Farmington (9-7-1) in Sunday’s semifinals.
“Husson has a very good team,” said Thomas College coach Terry Parlin. “They have a lot of upperclassmen who have playoff experience.
“We got beat by a better team, no question about it.”
“They work very well together,” said Thomas freshman goalkeeper Kate Thibodeau, who turned in a quality performance with 10 saves on 29 shots. “They know how to spread the ball wide and they’re an awesome passing team.”
Manning opened the scoring 2:15 into the game off a perfectly executed corner.
Megan Clement took the corner and an unmarked Amanda Gifford launched a powerful header toward the far corner where Manning directed it home.
“I kind of swiped that goal away from (Gifford),” said Manning. “Her header was on the right track. I just re-directed it.”
Husson outshot Thomas 17-2 in the first half but the hard-working Terriers defended well, getting numbers behind the ball.
It appeared as though the Eagles were going to have to settle with 1-0 lead going into the intermission but Laniewski used her blazing speed to expand it.
Laniewski outraced the Terrier defenders to break in alone on the onrushing Thibodeau and her 14-yard shot deflected into the net off the onrushing Thibodeau. It was her eighth goal of the season.
“I got a chunk of it with my foot,” said Thibodeau.
Senior striker Clement extended the lead just 2:43 into the second half with a dazzling individual effort.
Clement dribbled past a pair of Thomas defenders while slicing from left to right across the top of the penalty area and then unleashed a perfectly-placed low shot between the diving Thibodeau and the post to her left. It was her fourth of the season.
“That goal broke them,” said Husson coach Keith Bosley.
Manning added her 10th and 11th goals of the season to cap the scoring.
Another precisely executed corner produced the first one as Katie McLaughlin’s corner was flicked across the goal mouth by the head of Kayleigh Piccirillo and Manning simply had to head it into the open net.
A Clement pass set up the final goal as Manning slotted it with the inside of right foot past the helpless Thibodeau from 15 yards out.
“My teammates set me up perfectly,” said Manning.
Clement had two assists to go with her goal.
“She played a great game,” said Bosley.