Spezzano Lifts Soccer to 3-0 Victory in GNAC Opener

Spezzano Lifts Soccer to 3-0 Victory in GNAC Opener

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Senior Jessica Spezzano (Watertown, Conn.) recorded a five-point game with a pair of goals and an assist to lift the University of Saint Joseph soccer team to a 3-0 victory over the Regis (Mass.) Pride in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) affair at home on Saturday afternoon. The victory improves the Blue Jays record to 2-0-1 overall and 1-0 in the GNAC, while the Pride slip to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in league action.

The Blue Jays and Pride traded equal possession in the opening minutes before USJ got the first scoring chance in the seventh minute. Junior Sarah Palko (Southington, Conn.) fed a corner kick into the box and found classmate Amanda Ghent (Portland, Conn.) whose shot attempted ricocheted off the post.

Regis turned right around and created the next opportunity 12 minutes into the match. Sophomore Rachel Kelly (Whitman, Mass.) drove up the center of the field and arched a shot towards goal, but it clanked off the top of the crossbar to deny the goal.

Spezzano would eventually get the Blue Jays on the board in the first half with a goal in the 38th minute. Following a foul by Regis from 25 yards out at the top of the box, Spezzano converted the free kick opportunity powering a shot past the Pride's freshman keeper Kyrsten Drake (Loganville, Ga.) into the top-right corner of the net.

USJ would take the 1-0 lead into halftime and carried the momentum over into the second period as they would dominate the final 45 minutes of play. Spezzano extended the Blue Jays' lead to 2-0 less than two minutes into the second half, finding the back of the net with a left-footed strike on the left wing off a nice feed from Ghent.

The Blue and Gold continued to create multiple scoring chances throughout the remainder of the half before they would break through again in the 71st minute on the first collegiate goal from freshman Alyssa Fecko (Stafford, Conn.) to account for the 3-0 final. Spezzano drove up the left wing and played a cross into the scoring area that found the foot of Fecko who converted a brilliant finished off the far post in the top-left corner.

USJ outshot Regis 21-8 in the match, including 14-4 in the second half. They also held a commanding advantage in shots on goal, 9-1. The Pride held a slight edge in corner kicks, 6-4.

Sophomore goalkeeper Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) needed to make just one stop on the day between the posts for the Blue Jays to post her second clean sheet of the season. She now sports a record of 2-0-1 on the season. Drake made six saves for the Pride and slips to 1-2.

The Blue Jays will return back to the pitch next on Wednesday night in another GNAC battle on the road against Simmons College. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.