Garaffa nets first of career, Purple Knights fall, 2-1, to regionally-ranked New Haven

WEST HAVEN, Conn. - The Saint Michael's College women's soccer team continued a six-game stretch against regionally-ranked teams on Saturday, dropping their sixth one-goal decision of the fall, 2-1, at the University of New Haven on Kayo Field. The Purple Knights are 2-9-2 overall and 2-7-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Chargers are 9-4-1 and 6-4-1. New Haven is ninth in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) East Region poll.

The Purple and Gold, which has one game remaining during its challenging six-contest run, saw junior Kate Garaffa (Monroe, Conn./Masuk/Central Connecticut State) deposit her first college goal in a late comeback bid. Sophomore Aubrey Ouellet (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) made two stops, as the visitors matched New Haven in shots, 15-15.

Junior Monica Yanez (West Haven, Conn./West Haven) scored both Charger markers during a 12:44 span, while sophomore Natasha Purchla (Oakdale, N.Y./Connetquot) had five saves.

After New Haven sent the opening three shots of the game wide, Saint Michael's had the first try that went on net, with sophomore Olivia Biron (Saint Albans, Vt./BFA-Saint Albans) being denied at the 16-minute mark. Back-to-back Charger shots in the 21st minute were off the mark, and Purchla stopped two Purple Knight bids during a four-minute stretch prior to her team cracking the scoring column.

In the 34th minute, graduate student Ali Español (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Fairfield Ludlowe) tossed a throw-in to Yanez, who sent a short shot home at 33:10 to break the deadlock. On the next shot of the contest, at 45:54, Yanez finished senior Danielle Iacono's (Merrick, N.Y./Sanford H. Calhoun/Nassau CC) long service while on the run. Biron broke a nearly 29-minute span where the Purple Knights were held without a shot during the 61st minute, and the visitors eventually took eight of the final nine shots in the game.

Sophomore Carley Pestana (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) was turned aside in the 75th minute, leading to a corner kick after which junior Katie Butler (Sayville, N.Y./Saint Anthony's) was also denied by Purchla. In the 80th minute, Garaffa lofted a high arcing shot toward the net that eluded the keeper, creating a 2-1 margin at 79:42. Garaffa then also had the Purple and Gold's lone tying opportunity, firing a shot high in the 83rd minute.

The Purple Knights host their next two games, beginning on Tuesday when they oppose Merrimack College at 3 p.m. Participants in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the Warriors are currently ranked fifth in the region.