FARMINGDALE, N.Y.—In the 17-year history of the New Jersey City University women’s soccer program, the Gothic Knights have never defeated a nationally ranked team, but with just over six minutes remaining in the second half of Saturday’s game against #25 ranked Skidmore College, there was a real opportunity.
Freshman forward/midfielder ASHLEY CUNHA (Edison, NJ/Edison) scored her second goal in as many games at 83:38 of the second half to cut the deficit to 2-1, before the Thoroughbreds added a late goal and prevailed 3-1 on day two of the Farmingdale State College Tournament.
NJCU (1-2) dropped both games in the tournament by a combined three goals while Skidmore (2-1) won the event with a 2-0 weekend record. It was the first meeting between the programs in women’s soccer. The two-goal deficit was NJCU’s closest final margin against a nationally ranked team in school history. Skidmore was ranked 25th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll.
Skidmore controlled much of the tempo of the offense, outshooting NJCU, 30-6. But the play of junior keeper KELLY REILLY (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville Memorial) kept the Knights within arms length, as she stopped eight shots in 77:18 of action, before leaving with NJCU behind, 2-0. Freshman keeper CATHERINE HENSLEY (Dripping Springs, TX/Dripping Springs) saw her first career action, but didn’t make a save in the final 12:42, allowing the third goal of the game.
Skidmore led 2-0 at the half. Sophomore forward Elena Stansky (Worcester, MA/Worcester Academy) scored at 18:50 off a pass from sophomore forward Abby Benton (Vergennes, VT/Vergennes Union). Senior midfielder Emily Quirk (Maplewood, NJ/Columbia) made it 2-0 at 25:27 with senior forward Jenni Hibbard (Dedham, MA/Dedham) picking up the assist.
Cunha’s second goal of the season in the 84th minute was set up by freshman forward GABRIELLE CLARKE (Edison, NJ/J.P. Stevens) who earned her first career assist, as the Knights clawed within one, 2-1.
But Hibbard concluded a three-point day by putting the game out of reach at 86:43, scoring an unassisted goal. Skidmore sophomore keeper Meghan Sleezer (Gloversville, NY/Gloversville) made one save for the win.
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