WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team dominated the majority of possession and outshot the visiting MCLA Trailblazers, 18-3, but came up empty in its home opener falling by a score of 1-0 on Tuesday afternoon at the USJ Soccer Field. With the loss, the Blue Jays drop to 2-1-0 overall on the season while the Trailblazers pick up their first win of the 2018 campaign and move to 1-1-0. USJ will be back in action next on Saturday in its Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opener versus Saint Joseph's (Me.) at home beginning at 2:30 p.m.
MCLA made its lone shot on goal for the match count, as the Trailblazers would strike in the 21st minute and go on to hold on for the 1-0 victory over the Blue Jays. MCLA's sophomore Caitlyn Maloney (Troy N.Y.) drove up the right wing and curled a cross across the box that found teammate Hannah Van de Water (Cambridge, N.Y.) inside the penalty area and the junior converted with a left-footed strike into the top right corner of the USJ goal to score what would be the game-winner.
The Blue Jays had a few solid chances to tie the match over the opening 45 minutes of play with the best opportunity coming in the 27th minute. Senior forward Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) pushed the ball up the right side and played a cross perfectly into the box that found the foot of freshman Jenna Lentini (Middletown, Conn.) for a one-touch shot, however MCLA's senior goalkeeper Megan Richardson (Adams, Mass.) made a sprawling save to deny the equalizer heading into halftime.
In the second half, Richardson, who was spectacular all game for MCLA, made another game-saving stop in the 66th minute. Graduate senior Jessica Spezzano (Watertown, Conn.) played a through ball which found freshman midfielder Ariana Gazaferi (Southington, Conn.) in stride for a clean shot on goal, but a Richardson kick save kept the Blue Jays off the board.
USJ controlled the majority of possession throughout and really ramped up the tempo and pressure under the final 10 minutes. With under two minutes to play, it appeared that the Blue Jays found an answer and would force overtime after senior midfielder Amanda Ghent (Portland, Conn.) got a touch on a ball with a wide-open net following a scrum in front of the goal that drew out Richardson. However, an MCLA defender sprinted from the far post and made a sliding kick save to keep the ball from going over the endline and preserved the 1-0 win.
Richardson finished with nine saves for the Trailblazers to pick up the win in goal and improve her record to 1-1-0, while USJ's junior netminder Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) was dealt the tough-luck loss and falls to 2-1-0.
The Blue Jays held an 18-3 overall advantage in shots, including a 10-1 edge in shots on goal. USJ also held a significant 7-0 advantage in corner kicks, but could not find the back the back of the net before the final whistle was blown.
The USJ women's soccer team will be back in action next on Saturday for its GNAC opener versus Saint Joseph's (Me.) beginning at 2:30 p.m.