Sky Blue FC opened its 2018 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) preseason schedule on Saturday evening, hosting Penn State University at Sportika Sports in Manalapan, N.J. Nittany Lions defender Ellie Jean scored the game-winner in 73rd minute of play to lift her team to a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey side.
“I am pleased with what our players did today,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Denise Reddy. “We worked all week on a certain aspect of our playing style, and applying it today was our main focus. Technically and tactically, we had a few breakdowns, but our players stayed true to what was asked of them throughout this match. As we continue in the preseason, we want to extend our moments, and that will come as we adjust to playing 90 minutes of our style.”
Sky Blue FC was able to produce a lot of activity in the offensive third of the field, creating a handful of chances throughout the opening half to take an early lead. However, a strong showing by Penn State goalkeeper Rose Chandler kept the host side off the score sheet. At the half, the game remained scoreless.
Reddy began making heavy substitutions as the second half got underway. The lone tally of the match eventually came in the 73rd minute when a busy scramble in the box ended with Jean sneaking a ball past Sky Blue FC netminder Kaycee Guinion.
After a busy offseason, Sky Blue FC’s first preseason roster features only 12 players from the 2017 season, and some players have yet to report to camp due to national team commitments. The club also has a new head coach at the helm with Reddy, who was officially named on November 15, 2017. As expected, Sky Blue FC will need time to build chemistry and make adjustments before finding its identity.
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a 3:00 p.m. matchup with the University of North Carolina on Saturday, March 3, followed by a 1:00 p.m. kickoff against West Virginia University on Saturday, March 10. The New Jersey side will finish its preseason schedule on Sunday, March 18 when the club welcomes St John’s University for a 2:00 p.m. contest.
All Sky Blue FC preseason matches are open to the public, and admission to attend is free. Sportika Sports is located at 150 Woodward Road in Manalapan, N.J.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Penn State University
Date: February 24, 2018
Venue: Sportika Sports; Manalapan, New Jersey
NJ: 0 | 0 - 0
PSU: 0 | 1 - 1
73 PSU Ellie Jean
Sky Blue FC Starting XI: Casey, Simon, Freeman, Skroski, Gibbons, Richardson, Killion, Meehan, Groom, Hoy, Tiernan
Substitutes: Guinion, Corsaro, Rodriguez, Mills, Benintente, Conheeney, Abam, Sarkisian, Neary, Vigna, Magaletta
Head Coach: Denise Reddy