BOSTON, Mass. - The University of Saint Joseph soccer team cruised to victory, defeating the Newbury College Nighthawks on the road, 5-0, Wednesday afternoon at Hellenic Field. Senior Jessica Spezzano (Watertown, Conn.) paced the Blue Jays with a five-point match finishing with a goal and three assists. The victory gets USJ back in the win column and improves the Blue Jays overall record to 6-2-1 on the year, while the Nighthawks slip to 1-8.
USJ shelled the Newbury end of the field with 50 shots, 28 of which were on goal for the match. Spezzano was credited with 11 shots and junior midfielder Sarah Palko (Southington, Conn.) fired 10 times. The Nighthawks could only muster one shot on goal on the afternoon.
The scoring began in the fifth minute when junior midfielder Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) was left wide open in the middle of the box, led by a touch pass from Spezzano. Less than two minutes later, it was freshman Alyssa Fecko's (Stafford, Conn.) turn to be assisted by Spezzano to build the advantage to 2-0. The Nighthawk defense would withstand the offensive barrage through the first frame keeping the score at 2-0 heading into the break.
The second half featured 29 shots from the Blue Jays offense, including a score in the 57th minute from Spezzano who was assisted by junior midfielder Amanda Ghent (Portland, Conn.). In the 83rd minute, freshman midfielder Caroline Mackey (East Lyme, Conn.) riffled home a loose ball in front of the Newbury goal for her first collegiate score to push the USJ lead to 4-0. Spezzano was not done as she assisted on the final goal of the match in the 89th minute by feeding junior midfielder Rileigh Luba (Bristol, Conn.) for her first goal of the season and to account for the 5-0 final.
For Newbury, junior keeper Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) registered 23 saves and, in the process, set the new school-record for saves in a season with 181 through nine games. Anastasia Tridenti was the previous Newbury record holder with 163 saves in 17 games back in 2008. Sass is also the NCAA Division III leader in saves and saves per game (20.1). Sophomore goalie Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) picked up the win for USJ posting a clean first half of play and then gave way to freshmen Abigail Horner (East Lyme, Conn.) and Noelani Liz (Wethersfield, Conn.) who split the second half between the pipes. Horner made one save for the Blue Jays.
The USJ soccer team will be back in action next on Saturday when they return to GNAC play on the road at Saint Joseph's College of Maine. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. The Nighthawks will also return to the pitch on Saturday when they welcome Southern Vermont College to Hellenic Field for an NECC tilt. Kickoff will commence at 3 p.m.