Above: Midfielder Shawna Gordon set up the first goal of the match in the 13th minute (Photo by Dennis Schneidler).
Maya Hayes, Nadia Nadim Record Goals in 2-0 Clean Sheet
Palmyra, Penn. (Wednesday, March 25, 2015) – Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) continued its 2015 Preview Series Presented by Meridian Health on Wednesday night, defeating Penn State University in a midweek road match, 2-0. Scoring goals for the New Jersey side were forwards Maya Hayes and Nadia Nadim, with goalkeepers Brittany Cameron and Aubrey Bledsoe combining for the third consecutive shutout of the preseason.
“Penn State did a good job of imposing a different kind of challenge to us tonight,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “They made the field very compact, and they made it difficult for us to play through the middle of the park. They asked a lot of our wide players. In the first half, we did not necessarily answer too well, but we still managed to score an early goal. The times we did attack wide throughout the match, we created good scoring chances. Overall, I am very happy with getting another win and another clean sheet.”
The first tally of the match was registered in the 13th minute of play. Setting up the opportunity was midfielder Shawna Gordon, who was able to carry the ball down the left flank before sending a cross to the center of the box. There awaiting the feed was Nadim, who turned and delivered to Hayes. The former Penn State striker then quickly set her feet and struck a hard shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0 in favor of Sky Blue FC.
The visiting side nearly stretched the lead to two goals in the 21st minute, as midfielder Katy Freels split the center of the midfield before sending a feed to a streaking Hayes on the right side. The New Jersey native put an attempt on frame, but Penn State netminder Britt Eckerstrom was able to get a hand on the ball. Nadim then rebounded and followed up with a shot of her own, but Eckerstrom again stood her ground and quickly punched the ball away from danger.
After taking a 1-0 edge into the intermission, Sky Blue FC struck again just seconds after the second half kickoff. On the scoring play, midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta found space on top of the 18-yard box just before looking up and seeing Nadim with room to work. LaBonta then tapped a ball in the direction of the Danish striker, who took one step and hammered a hard shot beyond the reach of Eckerstrom.
As this contest progressed, Sky Blue FC continued to see itself become more comfortable, and the team truly began to gel across the field. Players began developing a greater sense of anticipation for one another, and that led to a handful of scoring chances. However, Eckerstrom and the Penn State defense fought a valiant battle and were able to keep Sky Blue FC from getting on the board again.
At the conclusion of the 90 minutes, Sky Blue FC saw itself with a 2-0 victory.
The final game of the 2015 Preview Series Presented by Meridian Health will take place this Sunday when Sky Blue FC hosts Rutgers University at Toms River North High School. That match, which is free to the public, will kick off at 7:00 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., and tickets for that match are on sale now. Season tickets are also available (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. Penn State University
March 25, 2015 – In the Net Sports Comlex
Sky Blue FC: 1-1-2
Penn State: 0-0-0
SBFC 13 M.Hayes (N.Nadim)
SBFC 46 N.Nadim (L.LaBonta)
SBFC – B.Cameron (A.Bledsoe-46), M.Morris, L.Cutshall, K.Grubka, M.Waldus (L.LaBonta-46), S.Gordon (T.Diederich-70), S.Killion, K.Freels, N.Stanton, M.Hayes, N.Nadim (G.Wagner-68)
Substitutes Not Used: None
PSU: B.Eckerstrom, B.Basinger (A.Witte-84), K.Riehl, M.Schafer, E.Ball, F.Crouse (M.Ritchey-75), E.Ogle, H.Echard (C.Williams-35), M.Weber, T.Chase, N.Driesse
Substitutes Not Used: K.Keen, R.Rodriguez, K.Schnurr, A.Widlacki, L.Vink-Lainas, S.Williford, I.Clauss, B.Holderby