Sky Blue FC played its second preseason match of 2017 on Saturday, April 1, beating a talented University of North Carolina squad by a tally of 1-0 at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J. Midfielder Raquel Rodriguez scored the game-winner in the 16th minute for Sky Blue FC, and goalkeeper Caroline Casey recorded the shutout.
“It was fantastic to get in this game against UNC today,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly in a team press release. “Under the guidance of Anson Dorrance, they have a very good technical and tactical understanding of the game, and they presented us with a number of challenges. Playing this match serves as great preparation for our NWSL season.”
The lone goal of the match came in the 16th minute on a scoring sequence that started with forward Leah Galton gaining possession in midfield and racing down the left flank with the ball. Once just outside the penalty area, the England international served a ball into the box where forward Maya Hays briefly collected the ball before playing a feed to Rodriguez at the top of the box. Rodriguez one-timed her shot into the left side netting and gave Sky Blue FC the early advantage.
The New Jersey squad continued to press throughout the remainder of the match and created multiple scoring chances, but Tar Heel goalkeeper Samantha Leshnak played exceptionally well in net to prevent Sky Blue FC from converting again.
Leshnak made her best save in the 86th minute after SBFC midfielder Madison Tiernan was taken down inside the box for a penalty kick. Australian forward Sam Kerr, who was playing her first match with Sky Blue FC this season, stepped up to the mark to take the kick. Kerr struck the ball, and Leshnak made a diving one-handed save to block Kerr’s attempt. The score remained 1-0 in SBFC’s favor at the final whistle.
Sky Blue FC earned its second preseason win of 2017 after defeating St. John’s University 3-1 on March 25. The NJ side will play its final preseason match on Sunday, April 9 when the team hosts Penn State University. The game will take place at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J. and is scheduled for a 4 p.m. kickoff.
Roster Note: Due to National Team commitments, forward Kelley O’Hara (USA) and goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan (CAN) were unavailable for this contest.
NWSL Preseason Match Report Match: Sky Blue FC vs. University of North Carolina
Date: April 1, 2017
Venue: Georgian Court University; Lakewood, N.J.
Weather: 45 degrees, windy
NJ: 1|0 - 1
UNC: 0|0 - 0
16 NJ R.Rodriguez (M.Hayes)
Lineup: NJ: C.Casey, Kayla Mills, C.Rampone (D.Richardson-69), M.Freeman, E.Skroski (E.Simon-62), S.Killion (C.Atanda-70), R.Rodriguez (N.Stanton-70), D.Corboz (D.Schulmann-69), T.Lytle (M.Tiernan-62), L.Galton (M.Meehan-70), M.Hayes (S.Kerr-55)
Head Coach: Christy Holly