FITCHBURG, Mass. – The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team was victorious in its season-opening match, 1-0, over Fitchburg State University (FSU), in a non-conference contest at Elliot Field Wednesday afternoon.
Despite the tricky wet-weather conditions, the Blue Jays got off to a great start, scoring in the 35th minute off a superb corner kick from senior midfielder and captain Ali O'Neill (Litchfield, Conn.). The ball came slicing right in front of freshman Gabriella Gulino (Wethersfield, Conn.), who made her on-field debut just minutes earlier. At the near post, Gulino got just enough on the ball to tap it past the keeper for a momentum-swinging goal, the first of her career, and the first of the Blue Jays' 2021 season. USJ remained the aggressors in the first half, with another corner kick and shot on goal narrowly missing the mark.
In the second half, Saint Joseph refused to crack, keeping the pressure on the home team until the final whistle. The triumph marks the first win as a collegiate head coach for first-year head coach Jenna Kalwa, who arrived to USJ in August. Kalwa kept her troops in line, controlling the pace of the game when it mattered most.
Score: Saint Joseph 1, Fitchburg State 0
Records: USJ (1-0), FSU (0-1)
Location: Elliot Field | Fitchburg, Mass.
COACH QUOTE [Jenna Kalwa]
"I am super proud of this team for working for each other today. Congratulations to [Gabriella Gulino] on earning her first collegiate goal, as well as the first of the season. We have lots of work ahead of us, with big goals in mind, but this was a great start to the season."
- USJ women's soccer has won six of the last seven season openers.
- The Blue Jays outshot the Falcons, 16-7.
- Corner kicks were also on USJ's side, with a 5-2 edge, the lone goal coming off a corner kick.
NUMBER TO KNOW
5 – Gulino is just the fifth freshman in the last 10 seasons to score a goal in her first career women's soccer game. The Blue Jays are 4-0 in those games, outscoring opponents, 10-1.
USJ – Senior goalie and captain Lindsey Montminy (Rockville, Conn.) was strong in between the pipes, picking up the win (1-0), and making three key saves in a full 90 minutes of work.
FSU – Goalie time was split down the middle for the Falcons. Junior Allison Gough (Wolcott, Conn.) was dealt the loss (0-1), allowing the one goal with two saves in the first half. Freshman Abaigeal Gilman (Clinton, Mass.) had a strong finish, making five saves in the final 45 minutes.
The Blue Jays continue their three-game road trip to start the 2021 season with a visit to Rhode Island College on Wednesday, September 8. Kickoff is expected at 5:00 p.m. on Alumni Field in Providence, R.I.
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