FARMINGTON, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team was blanked by the visiting Johnson & Wales Wildcats, 3-0, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) match on Kiki's Field at Miss Porter's School in Farmington on Wednesday afternoon. With the loss, the Blue Jays fall to 3-5-0 overall and 1-4-0 in the league, while the Wildcats improve to 7-5-0 and 4-1-0. The USJ women's soccer team returns to the pitch next on Friday night at Norwich beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The Wildcats first got on the board in the 19th minute on the fifth goal of the season from freshman forward Emily Zeblisky (East Northport, N.Y.). A long JWU goal kick found space to bounce in the middle of the field and the second ball was flicked forward to Zeblisky who outran the Blue Jays' back four defenders up the right-center of the field. Zeblisky fired a perfect shot across frame and into the top left corner of the net to put the visitors up 1-0 at the 18:04 mark.
Johnson & Wales created the next good opportunity to score in the 25th minute. The Wildcats earned their third corner kick of the early going, and the service found the head of senior forward Deja Hursey (Columbia, Md.) at the far post, but her header attempt sailed just wide.
USJ's best chance in the first half came in the 35th minute. Freshman Rylee Snow (West Greenwich, R.I.) used some fancy footwork to make a couple JWU defenders miss before crossing in an attempt from the left wing. The cross drew out the Wildcats' junior keeper Colleen Lynch (New Milford, Conn.) who punched it away, but directly to senior defender Amanda Ghent (Portland, Conn.) who laid a touch pass off to junior midfielder Olivia Norton (Berlin, Conn.) for a firm strike from 25-yards out. However, her attempt was right at Lynch who pawed it down for the save.
JWU really got organized and came on strong over the closing 10 minutes of the opening period. In the 31st minute, junior Cat Nolan (Center Moriches, N.Y.) played a perfect through ball to sophomore Erin Quinty (Rutland, Mass.) for a 1-v-1 chance with USJ's junior keeper Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.). Quinty's one-touch shot, though, was denied brilliantly by the cat-like reflexes of Ricci at the 30:12 mark.
With under a minute to play before the halftime intermission, Hursey had a pair of chances to try and tack on another goal for the visitors. Her first attempt with 55 ticks left screamed just wide and then with three seconds left, her last-second effort was blocked and cleared away inside the Blue Jays' penalty area to keep it at 1-0 in favor of the Wildcats.
Saint Joseph opened the second half strong and created the first scoring chance 2:05 into second-half play. Freshman Ali O'Neill (Litchfield, Conn.) gathered a pass just outside the Wildcats' penalty area and turned and fired a rip with her left foot toward goal, but the attempt knuckled inches over the crossbar for a JWU goal kick.
Play tightened up over the ensuing minutes and slowly the possession began to shift in the favor of the Wildcats. In the 69th minute, JWU's junior Molly McCormack (Livingston, N.J.) nearly extended the lead, but Ricci came up big once again with a save to keep USJ in the match.
The Wildcats kept up the pressure and would eventually break through for their second goal at the 83:58 mark. On the 12th JWU corner kick of the match, junior Janelle Charron (Coventry, R.I.) sent in service that snuck over all of the Blue Jays and found Quinty at the far post who bodied it into a wide-open net to push the visitors' lead to 2-0.
JWU would tack on an insurance goal to secure the 3-0 victory in the 89th minute. After a sprawling save by Ricci to initially deny the Wildcats, the rebound caromed right to sophomore Jaclyn Larsen (Florham Park, N.J.) who deposited her shot into the back of the net for her third marker of the year.
USJ made one last-minute effort to get on the scoreboard on the restart following the JWU goal. The Blue Jays pushed up the field and Snow was found wide open just inside the Wildcats' penalty area. She collected, but her shot attempt was just high to account for the 3-0 final.
Ricci finished with eight saves for the Blue Jays between the pipes, but falls to 3-5-0 on the season with the loss, while Lynch needed to make just two saves in the win to improve to 7-5-0.
JWU held a commanding 23-8 advantage in shots in the match, including a 12-2 lead in shots on goal. The Wildcats generated 14 corner kick opportunities to the Blue Jays' two.
The USJ women's soccer team returns back to the pitch next on Friday night in a road GNAC clash at Norwich. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.