Photo by Dennis Schneidler, DBJ Sports Photos.
Maya Hayes, Kelley O’Hara and Sarah Killion Score Goals in Preseason Opener
Sky Blue FC played the first match of its 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) preseason schedule on Saturday, defeating a motivated St. John’s University side by a tally of 3-1. All three Sky Blue FC goals were recorded in the opening half of the contest, with Maya Hayes, Kelley O’Hara and Sarah Killion providing the offensive scores.
“We are delighted to get the first preseason game under our belt,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “St. John’s always presents us with strong opposition, and they gave us different challenges throughout the game. It was good to see some combinations come together, as well as the connections that we have been looking to establish over the last couple of weeks. There is definitely some refinement that we want to do in the final third, but we are off to a good start. We are excited for what is yet to come.”
St. John’s was able to grab an early advantage in the 6th minute of this match-up, as forward Christina Bellero collected in the midfield before turning towards the Sky Blue FC goal. With goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan playing aggressively off her line, Bellero was able to capitalize by chipping a ball over the head of the Sky Blue FC netminder.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as Sky Blue FC was able to find an equalizer in the 12th minute. On that scoring play, midfielder Raquel Rodriguez received distribution in the middle of the park before delivering a hard roller to O’Hara on her right. The U.S. international then played Hayes on top of the 18, where the New Jersey native then back heeled a ball to Daphne Corboz on her left. Once the feed arrived, Corboz quickly sent it back to Hayes on a run to the far post, where Hayes redirected a one-timer into the left-side netting.
Just two minutes later, Sky Blue FC stayed on the attack and soon made the count 2-1 in its favor. On that successful series, defender Kayla Mills ran up the right wing with possession before delivering a well-placed cross to the mouth of the frame. There awaiting the distribution was O’Hara, who immediately finished off the feed for a go-ahead goal in the 14th minute.
The final tally in this fixture came in the 43rd minute after O’Hara gathered on the right flank before facing triple coverage. She then sent the ball to the middle of the box, where a clearance attempt by the St. John’s defense resulted in a pop-up that landed in the vicinity of Killion. The crafty midfielder then chested the ball down before hitting an incredible strike with the outside of her right foot that curled over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
The finish by Killion made it 3-1 in favor of Sky Blue FC, and the New Jersey side would not relinquish its two-goal advantage the rest of the way.
Next up on the preseason slate for Sky Blue FC is a Saturday afternoon pairing with the University of North Carolina this coming weekend. That match will take place at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J., with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. Admission for the game will be free of charge.
Sky Blue FC will play its 2017 regular season home opener when it hosts FC Kansas City on Sunday, April 30, at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. Kickoff for that match is slated for 6:00 p.m., and tickets are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
Sky Blue FC season, group and individual game tickets are on sale now! For any questions or to purchase tickets, call the Sky Blue FC tickets department at 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849), and a team representative will be happy to assist you. Additionally, tickets can also be purchased online.
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NWSL Preseason Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. St. John’s University
Date: March 25, 2017
Venue: Belson Stadium; Queens, New York
Weather: 46 degrees, rainy
NJ: 3|0 - 3
SJU: 1|0 - 1
6 SJU C.Bellero
12 NJ M.Hayes (D.Corboz)
14 NJ K.O’Hara (K.Mills)
43 NJ S.Killion
NJ: K.Sheridan, K.Mills, C.Rampone, M.Freeman, E.Skroski, S.Killion, R.Rodriguez, D.Corboz, K.O’Hara, L.Galton, M.Hayes
Second Half Substitutions: C.Casey, T.Lytle, N.Stanton, E.Simon, D.Richardson, D.Schulmann, K.Conheeney, K.DeCesare, M.Tiernan, C.Atanda, C. Benintente
Head Coach: Christy Holly