WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team could not find the back of the net on a rainy Saturday afternoon on the newly renovated USJ Soccer Field, falling to Norwich University (NU), 1-0, in both team's Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) opener.
It marks the first loss of the season for the Blue Jays (4-1-0, 0-1-0 GNAC), while the Cadets (1-4-0, 1-0-0 GNAC) grab their first win of 2019. Senior midfielder Madison Oelker (West Liberty, Ohio) scored the game's only goal on a penalty kick in the 49th minute. USJ had two chances late to tie it up but couldn't convert.
The Blue Jays were the aggressor in the first half, landing seven shots on goal and also had four corner kicks. They also drew 10 Cadet fouls to their three. The best chance to score for USJ came in the 17th minute, as sophomore midfielder Sierra Romie (Newington, Conn.) launched a rocket from inside the box, but it was saved by NU sophomore goalie Kim Watt (Lindenhurst, N.Y.), who kept the Cadets in striking distance with her quick reaction time in goal.
Freshman forward Maxine Muscatello (Berlin, Conn.), who entered today's game in the top-five in the GNAC in goals, had two shots on goal in the first half (three total), the last saved by Watt in the 34th minute.
The Cadets capitalized on a foul by a USJ defender inside the box just minutes into the second half. Oelker stepped up to take the penalty kick and placed it perfectly into the top right corner of the net, giving Norwich a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute.
Rain remained on and off throughout, and the Cadets' defense did not let up, as the Blue Jays struggled to get the ball into scoring range, despite playing with added urgency as the clock ticked away. USJ's best chance came late, as back-to-back yellow cards in the final two minutes gave USJ two free kicks from about 35 yards out. The first fell perfectly into a gap over the NU defense and just in front of the net, but no Blue Jay foot could find it before it went wide. The second came with just 10 seconds left, and was quickly deflected and rolled away as time expired.
Sophomore goalkeeper Lindsey Montminy (Vernon, Conn.) made eight saves between the pipes, but was dealt the tough-luck loss and falls to 3-1-0 on the season for the Blue Jays. Watt stopped seven shots for the Cadets in the victory and improves to 1-4-0.
The Blue Jays outshot the Cadets in the match, 16-14, but the visitors held a slight edge in shots on goal, 9-7. USJ held a significant advantage in corner kicks, 9-2, but couldn't connect on any to get the equalizer.
USJ will hit the road for a non-conference match at Mount Holyoke on Wednesday, September 18, at 5:00 p.m.