WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — With the help of sophomore forward Rylee Snow (West Greenwich, R.I.), and a tenacious all-out attack, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team improved to 4-0-0 for the first time in nearly 10 years, knocking off Eastern Nazarene College (ENC), 2-1, on the newly renovated USJ Soccer Field Saturday afternoon.
Snow sank the game-tying and game-winning goals for the Blue Jays (4-0-0), while junior midfielder Victoria Hern (Salem, N.H.) had the sole score for the Lions (0-3-0). While ENC was able to keep it close, USJ dominated in nearly every category, including shots (29-1), corner kicks (12-0), and most importantly, shots on goal (12-1).
ENC struck first when a floating pass was sent over the top of all USJ defenders from senior defender Michaela Connors (Norwell, Mass.), leaving Hern one-on-one with only the Blue Jays' goalie, sophomore Lindsey Montminy (Vernon, Conn.) in front of her. A little English on her kick was enough to get it past Montiminy, scoring the first goal of the game, and her third of the season.
Down 1-0, USJ remained relentless in their quest to score, as shots from senior midfielder Olivia Norton (Berlin, Conn.), freshman forward Maxine Muscatello (Berlin, Conn.), and Snow just missed the mark. The Blue Jays finally broke through in the 31st minute, as a third-chance effort from Snow evened the game at one. After a brilliant cross, Muscatello's initail attempt hit the crossbar before bouncing back to Norton right in front of the goal, whose shot bounced off the hands of senior goalie Griselda Minchaca (Whittier, Calif.), before Snow sliced it in from inches in front of the goal line.
USJ took the lead for good in the 59th minute. Sophomore defender Jenna Banta (Montville, Conn.) threaded the needle through the right side to a streaking Snow downfield, who once again broke free for her second goal of the game and third of the season.
The Blue Jays remained the aggressor despite clinging to a one-goal lead. Several shots came close to hitting the mark, but ultimately, it was the back line of the USJ defense that kept the Lions at bay as the seconds ticked away. Banta, along with junior defenders Emily Remicio (West Hartford, Conn.), and freshman Tatiana Bilbraut (Hartford, Conn.) gave the Lions all they could handle. A long strike across the midfield line from Banta ended any last ditch effort to sneak one past.
USJ returns to its newly renovated pitch in one weeks time for its first Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) match of 2019, going head-to-head with Norwich on Saturday, September 14, at 12:00 p.m., on the USJ Soccer Field.