Defender Candace Chapman will now rejoin the Canadian National Team for the Olympics.
Rough Riders Claim 1-0 Result on 64th Minute Goal
In a battle for first place in the Northeast Division of the USL W-League on Thursday evening, the New Jersey Wildcats (3-2-2, 11 points) and Long Island Rough Riders (4-2-0, 12 points) played a highly competitive match before an entertained crowd at TCNJ Lions Stadium. The Rough Riders would eventually claim a 1-0 result in the contest to take over the top spot on the divisional table, earning the victory on a game-winning goal in the 64th minute from midfielder Kaila Sciascia.
The action was very even throughout the 90 minutes of play, with each side creating some legitimate opportunities on the offensive end of the field while also putting forth strong defensive efforts. Disaster almost struck for the host side in the opening minute of the game when a shot from Long Island midfielder Amanda Ferranto struck the far post before being cleared, and the Rough Riders nearly found a go-ahead notch a few minutes later after defender Kimberley DeCesare fired a close-range shot wide of the frame.
After the early danger settled down, the Wildcats started to put together some runs that caused the hometown fans to rise to their feet on multiple occasions. University of Tennessee product Kylee Rossi seemed to be at the forefront of those chances, but she unfortunately had to leave the field in the 32nd minute due to injury.
After neither side found a goal in the first half, Wildcats head coach Jim Gabarra moved Canadian National Team defender Candace Chapman to the midfield, and her pace alongside Kristen Edmonds began to open up things for the attacking line in front of them. The hosts began to find speedy play from the entire roster, feeding the ball to the flanks before some dangerous crosses were delivered to the front of the opposing goal.
The stalemate was finally broken in this pairing when Long Island hit the first goal of the evening in the 64th minute. Forward Grace Hawkins started the play to eventually earn her team-leading 19th point of the season, collecting the ball in the midfield before sending it forward to a racing Sciasca. The speedy striker then ran under the ball and took a couple of touches, which earned a 1v1 situation with Wildcats goalkeeper Chante Sandiford. Before Sandiford had time to truly react, Sciasca slotted a strike underneath her to hang the lone tally of the game.
Both teams continued to battle the rest of the way, but that score would become the difference in the outcome. With the win, the Rough Riders reclaim first place in the Northeast Division and possess a one-point advantage over the Wildcats.
Next up for the Wildcats is a rematch between these two sides on Saturday, June 23rd, with kickoff slated for 4:00 p.m. at Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel. The site will serve as the host venue for the Wildcats for each of its final three home contests.
Tickets for all Wildcats home matches are available now and can be attained by calling 732-720-9163, and they also are available the day of the game at the gate. Individual tickets as well as team and family packages are available, and more information about the Wildcats can be found online at njwildcats.com.