BOSTON, Mass. – Senior forward Jessica Spezzano (Watertown, Conn.) scored with just 1:47 left to play in the match to give the University of Saint Joseph soccer team a 2-1 victory over host Simmons College Wednesday evening in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) match at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Blue Jays remain unbeaten on the season and win their third straight to improve to 3-0-1 overall and 2-0-0 in league play, while the Sharks fall to 1-3-1 and 0-2-0 with the setback.
Despite being outshot 13-8 and facing a 15-4 deficit in corner kicks, Saint Joseph made the most of its opportunities. With the game tied, 1-1, time ticking off the clock and both teams staring overtime in the face, Spezzano carried the ball into the right side of the box, before unleashing a shot from five yards out that went off the Simmons keeper's outstretched fingertips and into the upper-left corner of the net for the game-winner at the 88:13 mark. The game-winning marker is already her second on the young season as she sits tied for second on the team with 10 points through four games.
The Blue Jays opened the game strong, creating most of the early action starting with a shot on goal made by sophomore midfielder Olivia Norton (Berlin, Conn.) 3:28 into the match, but it was stopped by senior keeper Casey Halle (Watertown, Mass.). Simmons fired right back though with an aggressive strike from junior forward Cíara Forde (Quincy, Mass.) that hit the post.
Senior defender Liz Donovan (Nashua, N.H.) was able to put the Sharks on the board first with a lifted shot from the top-right corner of the box on a free kick opportunity, putting the Sharks ahead 1-0 at the 18:54 mark of the first half. The marker was Donovan's second of the season and would be the score heading into the halftime intermission.
Saint Joseph wasted no time getting on the board to open up the second half when Spezzano sent a cross from the left side of the box to junior midfielder Amanda Ghent (Portland, Conn), who converted a one-timer at the 46:58 mark to tie the game at 1-1. It marks the fourth goal of the season in as many games for Ghent. The would set up for the dramatic game-winning goal by Spezzano with under two mintes to play in regulation to propel USJ to victory.
Sophomore keeper Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) stopped five shots to earn the victory for the visitors, while Halle finished with a save for Simmons.
Both teams will continue GNAC play at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 with Simmons facing off at Emmanuel College on Roberto Clemente Field in Boston and the Blue Jays taking on conference foe Norwich University on their home field in West Hartford, Conn.