WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - A natural hat trick by senior forward Amanda Crisfulla (Raynham, Mass.) would lift the visiting Curry College Colonels over the University of Saint Joseph soccer team, 3-1, in a non-conference tilt on the USJ Soccer Field on Monday afternoon. The setback drops the Blue Jays overall record to 5-2-1 on the season, while the Colonels improve to 6-2-2 with the victory. Junior Amanda Ghent (Portland, Conn.) scored her ninth goal of the season for the Blue Jays in the loss. USJ will look to get back on track when they return to the pitch on Wednesday on the road at Newbury College. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.
The match started off slowly with both teams equally sharing possession over the opening 15 minutes of play. The first real scoring chance didn't come until the 17:16 mark when freshman Tayla Randall (Walpole, Mass.) ripped a shot on net, but USJ's sophomore goalie Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) made a diving stop and puched the shot away with her left hand and out of play. On the ensuing corner kick, senior Korinna Tsonsis (Dartmouth, Mass.) would get a good look look on net, but Ricci once again handled the try.
USJ developed the next opportunity 22:41 into the match on its third corner kick. Senior Jessica Spezzano (Watertown, Conn.) played in a ball from the near corner, which would eventually bounce to an open Sarah Palko (Southington, Conn.) at the top of the 18-yard box. However, the junior's right-footed strike sailed just over the crossbar.
Crisfulla would eventually put the Colonels on the board with her first goal of the match in the 32nd minute. She drove up the right wing and with some space pulled up and fired a brilliant curling shot from 30-yards that was perfectly placed up and over the USJ keeper and into the top-left corner of the goal. Less than three minutes later, Crisfulla would strike again to push the Curry lead to 2-0. Senior Cassandra Grasso (Wilmington, Mass.) played a nice long ball up the left wing to a charging Crisfulla who was in behind the Blue Jays defense. Ricci left her post attempting to make a diving stop before Crisfulla could get there, but the senior flicked it up and over the keeper and rolled it into the back of the net.
Crisfulla completed the natural hat trick and sealed the win for the Colonels in the second half at the 74:40 mark. A perfectly played through ball found Crisfulla once again behind USJ's back line. With just the keeper to beat, her first shot attempt was brilliantly stopped by Ricci, but she corralled the rebound and spun and fired a shot into the bottom right corner of the net to make it 3-0 Curry.
The Blue Jays attempted to mount a furious comeback and really picked up the intensity and pressure over the final 15 minutes of play. They quickly answered exactly one minute later on the ninth goal of the season from Ghent. After taking the kickoff from Curry's third goal down the field and forcing a corner kick, Spezzano crossed in a ball that found the foot of Ghent who finished into the top left corner to prevent the shutout and account for the 3-1 final.
Curry outshot the Blue Jays 18-12 in the match, including 11-6 in shots on goal. USJ held a slight edge in corner kicks, 8-5. Ricci made eight saves for the Blue Jays in the loss and drops to 5-2-1 on the season, while sophomore Kristen Buzzotta posted five stops for the Colonels to improve to 5-2-1 on the year.
The USJ soccer team will look to bounce back when they return to action next on the road Wednesday against Newbury College at 3:30 p.m. Curry next plays at home on Thursday against UMass Boston at 6:30 p.m.