NEWTON, Mass. – The first goal of the season for sophomore midfielder Ariana Gazaferi (Southington, Conn.) was as big a goal as any, as the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team defeated eight-time GNAC Champion Lasell University (LU) on Taylor Field Wednesday, 1-0, for the first time since 2012.
With the win, the Blue Jays improve to 7-1-0 overall, and climb into a tie for second in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) standings at 2-1-0. The Lasers slip to 2-6-0 and are also now 2-1-0 in the GNAC.
The Blue Jays were awarded a penalty kick in the 40th minute following a Lasell handball, and Gazaferi would not be denied. She stepped up and beat sophomore goalie Angela Sanzari (North Haven, Conn.) with a shot to the right side, breaking a scoreless tie with what would ultimately be the game-winning goal.
Lasell on paper was the more aggressive team, finishing with a 19-11 advantage in shots (8-4 on goal), including twice as many as USJ in the first half, but the Blue Jay defense kept the Lasers at bay throughout the match. USJ sophomore goalie Lindsey Montminy (Vernon, Conn.) showed her strength in the net, posting her second straight shutout and third of 2019 for the Blue Jays. She matched a season-high with eight saves to pick up the win (6-1-0) betwen the pipes, three coming in the final 15 minutes of play. Sanzari finished with three saves in the Lasers' net but suffered the loss to fall to 2-5 on the year.
LU turned up the pressure in the last 20 minutes, as freshman midfielder Bobbi O'Guin (Newton, Mass.) hit a shot off the crossbar. Classmate and forward Alex Lorenzo (Pawtucket, R.I.) followed it moments later with a shot that was just wide left. Senior defender Olivia Austin (Burlington, Mass.) had a solid look on a free-kick from just outside the box, but that was blocked away with eight minutes to go. Sophomore forward Darian Morgan (Hoosick Falls, N.Y.) had a shot sail over the crossbar with two minutes to play. Along with a well-rounded defense in front of her, Montminy went on to save a header in the final minute to close it out for USJ, which picks up its fourth shutout victory of the season. The Blue Jays are 7-1-0 for the first time in seven years.
USJ returns to the pitch for a home GNAC matchup with Colby-Sawyer on Saturday, September 28. Kick-off between the Blue Jays and Chargers is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on the USJ Soccer Field.