NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Trailing 3-1 late in the second half, freshman Rylee Snow (West Greenwich, R.I.) and graduate senior Jessica Spezzano (Watertown, Conn.) potted goals in a 46-second span to fuel a comeback for the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team who would settle for a 3-3 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) double-overtime draw on the road against the Norwich University Cadets on Sabine Field on Friday evening. The stalemate moves the Blue Jays to 3-5-1 overall and 1-4-1 in the GNAC, while the Cadets move to 6-3-1 and 3-3-1. USJ will be back in action next on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in another road GNAC clash at Emmanuel.
Norwich's freshman Julia Koron (Pittsford, N.Y.) scored twice in the second half to build a 3-1 lead for the Cadets, but USJ answered with two goals less than a minute apart in the 72nd and 73rd minute to level the score again and force the double-overtime draw.
The Blue Jays were the first to strike and took a 1-0 lead at the 8:27 mark of the first half when senior Deidra Caruso (Portland, Conn.) scored her first goal of the season on a corner kick off an assist from freshman Ali O'Neill (Litchfield, Conn.). Caruso was first to the ball at the far post and tapped the ball into an open net after O'Neill served it in from the right corner.
Norwich responded in the 25th minute when Sydney Rocheville (Salem, Mass.) chased down a long, over the top ball from Courtney Amell (Northfield, Vt.). Rocheville took a couple dribbles and then fired the ball to the side of the USJ keeper to knot the score at 1-1 with her third goal of the season.
Koron then scored her first of the game in the second half with a laser strike from 25-yards out on a free kick for her fourth goal of the season. Koron blasted the ball past the USJ defense perfectly into the top left corner of the net to give Norwich its first lead of the game, 2-1, in the 51st minute. She would score again in the 65th minute, finally tapping home a loose ball in the box after it kicked around a few players to give the Cadets a 3-1 lead.
However, for the second straight game, Norwich gave up two goals in less than a minute span as USJ cut the deficit to 3-2 at the 71:59 mark when Rylee Snow scored off a corner kick. Junior Olivia Norton (Berlin, Conn.) picked up the assist after side-volleying the ball ahead after an O'Neill corner kick service found its way to her feet. Snow then redirected the ball into the back of the net for the goal. It marked the second goal of the career for the rookie and the second in the past three games.
Just 46 seconds later, Spezzano ran down a long, bouncing ball on a clearance from freshman defender Jenna Banta (Montville, Conn), evaded the goalkeeper to the right and then slipped the ball into a wide open net to tie the game and account for the 3-3 draw.
Freshman Kim Watt (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) made her first collegiate start for Norwich, making 10 saves for the Cadets in goal to earn the tie. Junior keeper Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) stopped nine shots for USJ to bring her record to 3-5-1 on the year.
The Cadets held a slight advantage in total shots in the match, 22-20, but the Blue Jays really controlled the pace of play in the second half of play and both overtime periods, outshooting the hosts 16-9 over the final 65 minutes. USJ was a touch more accurate in the match holding a 13-12 edge in shots on goal and also posted a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The USJ women's soccer team returns back to the pitch next on Wednesday night in a road GNAC clash at Emmanuel. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.