(Photo by Dennis Schneidler)
Midfielder Katy Freels Leads the Charge with a Goal and Assist
Scotch Plains, N.J. (Saturday, March 14, 2015) – Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) opened its 2015 Preview Series Presented by Meridian Health on Saturday, with the team using a second half burst to defeat St. John’s University at Wexler Field in Scotch Plains, 3-0. Leading the way for the New Jersey side was midfielder Katy Freels, who registered a goal and an assist, while 2015 Second Overall Draft Pick Sarah Killion and forward Maya Hayes also contributed a tally each. Sharing the clean slate in goal for Sky Blue FC was Brittany Cameron and Aubrey Bledsoe.
“I was pretty pleased with the second half,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “During the first half, there was really just one portion where I liked the way we played and maintained possession. I thought we were a little bit tentative and conservative in the first half, but we collectively made some good adjustments at halftime. In the second half, we picked up the tempo and the pressure, and we were able to score some goals. Overall, we are very pleased to get out of here with no injuries and having had the opportunity to play 90 minutes together.”
The first scoring chance for Sky Blue FC came in the 6th minute of this match, with defender Meg Morris driving up the left flank before delivering a cross to the center of the penalty area. There awaiting the distribution was Freels, who put a solid shot on goal that St. John’s netminder Katie De Vault was able to manage.
Freels was again in on the action in the 28th minute, collecting a ball on top of the box before chipping it over the defense where Hayes was able to head it over the top of De Vault. The ball appeared to be headed into the open goal, but it was cleared away by a fast arriving defender.
The following minute, forward Shawna Gordon delivered a sharp cross from the left flank that again saw Hayes as the recipient, but her ensuing shot rocketed just wide of the right post.
After recollecting during the intermission, the scoreless deadlock was finally broken in the 50th minute. Following a hard tackle of Hayes in the penalty area, a referee whistle resulted in a worthy penalty kick opportunity. Stepping over the try was Freels, who immediately fired a hard shot into the left netting to place Sky Blue FC on the scoreboard, 1-0.
In the 56th minute, Freels was able to rob a St. John’s defender of possession just atop the 18-yard box, and the former Auburn standout quickly looked up to find a streaking Killion running down the right flank. Freels then placed the ball in space for Killion, who hammered a one-timer into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
The final goal of this match then occurred in the 77th minute, hanging a final tally of 3-0 in favor of Sky Blue FC. On the play, former Alabama midfielder Theresa Diederich slotted a ball through the center of the defense, where Hayes was able to collect and rip a well-struck ball to earn her first goal of the preseason.
Next up for Sky Blue FC in its 2015 Preview Series Presented by Meridian Health is a pairing with the University of North Carolina on Saturday, March 21st, where the two sides will play a 3:00 p.m. game at Mercer County Community College. Admission into the match will be $10 per person, and pre-game activities will get underway at 1:30 p.m.
Sky Blue FC will open the NWSL regular season on the road when it travels to FC Kansas City on Sunday, April 12th. The team will play its home opener at Yurcak Field (Rutgers, Piscataway) on Saturday, April 18th, at 7:00 p.m. Season tickets are available now (10 home matches), with packages starting as low as $120. Make sure you catch all of the world class NWSL action this season at Yurcak Field by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849)!
Sky Blue FC vs. St. John’s University
March 14, 2015 – Wexler Field
St. John’s – 0 0 0
Sky Blue FC – 0 3 3
SBFC – 50’ K.Freels (Penalty Kick)
SBFC – 56’ S.Killion (K.Freels)
SBFC – 77’ M.Hayes (T.Diederich)
SBFC – B.Cameron, R.Breton, M.Morris, K.Grubka, L.Custhall, N.Stanton, S.Killion, K.Freels, G.Wagner, M.Hayes, S.Gordon
SJU – K. De Vault, E.Cubbage, R.Daly, A.Urbanski, M.Martinov, D.Thomas, S.Halasz, M.Tinari, J.Schaefer, M.Gonzalez Bullon, A.Moar