WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) women's soccer team dropped a double-overtime thriller to Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) foe, Simmons University (SU), 2-1, on the road Saturday afternoon on Daly Field.
Senior midfielder Kristen Mihalich (East Rockaway, N.Y.) scored the game-winning goal just minutes into the second overtime on a cross from senior forward Amber Nobbs (Granville, Mass.) from the right side. The shot was deflected in front and into the net, capping a critical late-season win. The Blue Jays got on the board first thanks to freshman forward Maxine Muscatello (Berlin, Conn.), but could not hold serve after Nobbs tied it up with a goal of her own. USJ is now 0-4-1 in its last five matches, after starting the season 10-1.
Freshman goalie Melanie Colman (Holliston, Mass.) picked up the win (4-11-1), denying four shots, and only allowing the first-period goal. Sophomore goalie Lindsey Montminy (Vernon, Conn.) also had four saves, but allowed the two goals in the loss (9-5-1). It was a pretty even contest all around, with USJ holding a slim 14-12 shots advantage (5-5 shots on goal), and SU holding a 5-4 corner kicks advantage, but the Sharks, who now improve to 4-11-1 on the season and 4-7-0 in the GNAC, took advantage of late opportunities near the cage. The Blue Jays dip to 10-5-1 and 5-5-1 in league play.
Senior captain Olivia Norton (Berlin, Conn.) got things going for the Blue Jays in the 13th minute with a cross to the right side of the box, leaving Muscatello with a shot to the far right post for a score. The Sharks had four opportunities to cash in after the goal, two that were sent back by Montminy, and two that went wide. USJ went into the half with a slim 1-0 lead.
The Blue Jays came out of the half determined to put the game away, with back-to-back shots in the 69th and 71st minute. Muscatello and sophomore midfielder Ali O'Neill (Litchfield, Conn.) both had a chance, but Colman made two solid saves to keep the lead at one. Moments later, the Sharks capitalized on a corner kick to tie it up. Freshman midfielder Izabella Warren (Hillsboro, N.H.) smashed a corner kick into the box, placed perfectly for Nobbs, who flicked the ball into the upper right corner. Just like that, the game was tied, 1-1.
Both teams were unable to score as regulation expired, sending the game into overtime. After 10 minutes of OT, there was still no winner. The Blue Jays had two chances to close it out late in OT number one from Muscatello, and sophomore midfielder Ariana Gazaferi (Southington, Conn.), but to no avail. In the 103rd minute, Mihalich scored off a deflection to cap off the come-from-behind win. The bottom half of the GNAC standings continue to tighten as the season enters its final week.
The Blue Jays wrap up the regular season with a matchup against intrastate and GNAC rival Albertus Magnus on Wednesday, October 30 at 6:00 p.m. on Celentano Field.
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