WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team put up a five-spot, including the first career hat trick for sophomore midfielder Ariana Gazaferi (Southington, Conn.) in a 5-0 shutout of Anna Maria College (AMC), on the USJ Soccer Field Wednesday afternoon.
It's the fifth consecutive win for the Blue Jays (fourth straight shutout), who now improve to 9-1-0 (4-1-0 GNAC) for the first time since 2012. The AMCATS meanwhile have dropped five of six, and dip to 3-6-1 (0-4-1 GNAC). Freshman forward Olivia Belcourt (Cromwell, Conn.) and sophomore midfielder Rylee Snow (East Greenwich, RI) also found the net for USJ in the first and second halves respectively.
Sophomore goalie Lindsey Montminy (Vernon, Conn.) picked up her fifth shutout of 2019, along with two saves. Sophomore goalie Rachel Matloff (Grafton, Mass.) was dealt the loss (four goals, one save) for AMC. Sophomore goalie Julia Annecchiarico (Ludlow, Mass.) had two saves in 31 minutes of action as well for USJ. Freshman goalie Alice Yokabaskas (Farmingdale, Me.) went most of the way for the AMCATS in the second half, allowing one goal.
The Blue Jays took control right away with a goal in the fourth minute, as Belcourt got right back to where she left off last week against Lasell, making it 1-0 Blue Jays, on a quick shot off a deflection by an Anna Maria defender.
Both teams traded shots back and forth, but to no avail, until USJ added an insurance goal in the 18th minute. It was a corner kick initially cleared by AMC, but it was chased down on the opposite side by sophomore midfielder Sierra Romie (Newington, Conn.), who played it back in toward the far post for Gazaferi, who finished the job in the top right corner of the net, her second goal of the season.
Defense prevailed on both sides throughout the rest of the first half, as each had corner kicks that went unsuccessful. Montminy once again prevented anything that remotely looked like an accident waiting to happen, by quickly snatching anything that came her way.
The Blue Jays pulled away just two minutes into the second half, as Gazaferi netted her second straight goal on a great pass from junior defender Emily Remicio (West Hartford, Conn.), who picked up her first assist of the season. Gazaferi's third goal to complete the hat trick came on a penalty shot in the 55th minute. The third goal in just over 10 minutes came off another AMCATS deflection, this one was drilled in from Snow from straight on to make it 5-0.
Give credit to where credit is due, the score and the situation had no effect on the enthusiasm of the AMCATS sideline. Each and every substitution came in engaged, looking to put it in the net, and one nearly did in the 63rd minute. Sophomore forward Briana Rliey (Bluffton, SC) was inches from her second goal of 2019, but Annecchiarico was able to squeeze it against the right post with her hand, before getting a solid grip on the ball. Minute by minute, the AMCATS continued to strike, but despite an all-out effort in the field and on the sideline, AMC could not find the net by the final buzzer.
USJ returns to the pitch for another home GNAC matchup against Regis on Saturday, October 5. Kick-off is slated for 12:00 p.m. on the USJ Soccer Field.