WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Sarah Palko netted a first-half hat trick to lift the University of Saint Joseph over the Suffolk women's soccer team, 6-1, in a GNAC tilt on USJ Soccer Field Saturday afternoon.
SCORE: Suffolk 1, Saint Joseph (Conn.) 6
RECORDS: Suffolk (4-5-0, 3-4-0 GNAC) | St. Joseph (Conn.) (8-3-1, 6-2-0 GNAC)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Palko registered her first of three goals on the afternoon in the 15th minute. Jessica Spezzano drove up the right wing and played a cross into the box that caromed off a Suffolk defender and fell at the feet of Palko, who would finish into the top-right corner of the goal to give USJ the early 1-0 advantage. The Blue Jays would strike against quickly to push their lead to 2-0 at the 17:25 mark. This time it was Spezzano who found the back of the net after midfielder Amanda Ghent played a perfect long ball up the center of the field. Spezzano ran down the pass and beat Suffolk's keeper into the top-left corner.
The Blue Jays would build a 3-0 lead after the second goal of the match from Palko in the 28th minute. A USJ throw-in to junior Morgan Skoly up the right wing led to another perfect cross that found a charging Palko who sent a shot across frame into the side netting for the goal.
Suffolk got one back on the sixth goal of the season from senior Alexandra Nagri to climb within 3-1 at the 34:23 timestamp. A beautifully played long ball by classmate Paola Ortez found Nagri behind USJ's back four. Nagri settled the pass and beat sophomore keeper Megan Ricci one-on-one into the lower right corner.
Palko capped off her first-half hat trick with just under five minutes to play before the break to increase the Blue Jays lead back to three, 4-1. Senior Nicole Aquillo dove up the center of the field and used a perfectly touched through ball to find Palko inside the box on the left side and her one-touch shot scooted past the diving Rams keeper at 40:24 mark.
The Blue Jays continued to control possession in the second half and limited the amount of Suffolk chances to maintain their lead. The would extend the advantage to 5-1 on the second goal of the match from Spezzano. A throw-in from freshman Alyssa Fecko in the 61st minute found Spezzano with space who unleashed an absolute missile of a strike to beat Suffolk's sophomore goalie Julie Fieldsend from 40-yards out.
Ghent completed the scoring for USJ in the 88th minute with her team-best 11th goal of the season to account for the 6-1 final. Junior Jenai Davis recorded her first career assist after battling on the Suffolk endline for the ball and then feeding a pass back to Ghent just inside the 18-yard box. Ghent's shot curled over the keeper and into the side netting.
KEEPING UP THE WITH KEEPERS
- Fieldsend and Ricci each made five stops in between the pipes for their respective teams.
- The Blue Jays outshot the Rams 22-11 in the match, including 11-7 in shots on goal.
- Each team created four corner kick opportunities.
- Nagri extended her point streak to three straight contests. Over the last three games, the senior captain has produced 11 points off five goals and one assist.
Suffolk returns to James A. Sartori Stadium at East Boston Memorial Park Wednesday, Oct. 11 for a midweek matchup versus Johnson & Wales. First kick is set for 7 p.m.