First Half Sarah Killion Goal is Eventual Game-Winner over St. John’s University
Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) opened up its 2016 preseason slate on Sunday at Wexler Field on the campus of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, defeating St. John’s University by a tally of 1-0.
“It is great just to get back on the field. It has been a long offseason,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We have done a lot of work indoors on a smaller field, so this was a great opportunity for us to really open up and play a little more expansively. It was also good to get in two 45-minute segments. Many of the trialists were able to get 45 minutes under their belts, which is great to see, and we were also able to play some of our more established players in the first 45 minutes.”
The ball remained on the Sky Blue FC offensive end of the field for most of the contest, with the New Jersey club creating consistent scoring opportunities. On the other side of the docket, their efforts were matched by an incredible performance by St. John’s goalkeeper Diana Poulin and the back line in front of her.
“We saw some good movement and some good ideas,” Holly continued. “As we make our way through the preseason, those connections will become a little bit clearer, and we will also continue to build on our own execution in the final third.”
The lone goal of this outing came in the 37th minute after forward Tasha Kai was taken down inside the box, awarding Sky Blue FC with a penalty kick. Stepping over the ensuing try was midfielder Sarah Killion, who hammered a hard shot into the right-side netting.
“As we made our way through the field and continued to put more pressure on the ball, the ideas, clever movements, and the tricks and flicks were there,” Holly recalled. “We just need to finish connecting the dots. Once we build on that understanding with the players, we will be producing something really exciting on the field.”
Fans in attendance on Sunday got a nice taste of that excitement, where Kai, first-year Hofstra product Leah Galton and U.S. National Teamer Kelley O’Hara wreaked havoc on top of the offense in the opening half. Their efforts, combined with strong midfield and defensive play, began painting a picture of what is to come this season for Sky Blue FC.
“We are very excited about the talent we have throughout the field, and we will have some more players arriving this week who will be a huge part of what we will be doing over the next nine months,” Holly stated. “Cementing them into the team and building them into our philosophy will be a key objective this week.”
At the conclusion of this week of training, Sky Blue FC will again take the field on Saturday to host the University of North Carolina at Georgian Court University. Kickoff for that match is slated for 3:00 PM, and admission is again free of charge.
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Sky Blue FC vs. St. John’s University
March 20, 2016 – Wexler Field
Scotch Plains, New Jersey
SBFC 37 S.Killion (Penalty Kick)
SBFC First Half XI – C.Stanley, C.Goodson, C.Rampone (C), M.Hayes, E.Simon, S.Killion, N.Stanton, T.Lytle, L.Galton, K.O'Hara, N.Kai
SBFC Second Half XI – C.Casey, E.Skroski, K.Grubka, R.Breton, T.Diederich, N.Baxter, H.Katowski, K.Conhenney, K.Freda, M.Morris, K.DeCesare
SJU Available Players – D.Poulin, S.Chaides, A.Urbanski, M.Martinov, S.Masur, S.Connors, C.Cagnina, M.Tinari, J.Schaefer, M.McCracken, A.Baldursdottir, L.Whipp, M.Jacome, S.Scaffidi, M.Bruce, C.Bellero, A.Dolgos, A.Moar