NEWARK—Sophomore striker JULIA CASERES (Union, NJ/Union) netted her third hat trick of the season and amassed at least nine points in a game for the second time in three days to claim Most Valuable Player accolades, as the New Jersey City University women’s soccer team scored early and often en route to a 9-1 rout of Philadelphia Biblical University, in round two of the Scarlet Raider Soccer Classic hosted by Rutgers-Newark at Alumni Field on Saturday evening.
NJCU, which finished the event 2-0 for the second straight year—as did host Rutgers-Newark—took the tournament championship by virtue of a +9 goals differential in its two victories. It is the first championship of any kind ever won by NJCU in women’s soccer in the 17-year history of the program. Newark went 2-0 and had a +5 differential.
Caseres highlighted four All-Tournament Team selections for NJCU. Also earning selection were freshman forward ASHLEY CUNHA (Edison, NJ/Edison), junior keeper KELLY REILLY (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville Memorial) and sophomore midfielder KATLIN VARGO (Edison, NJ/Union Catholic).
“We are all very proud of this achievement,” said fourth-year head coach ROBERT BIELAN. “This has been years in the making. I’ve been trying to do something prideful for this school, and the athletic department has believed in me and my program. This will be a nice lead into our upcoming conference matches.”
“This is by far the best recruiting class I’ve ever had and today’s accomplishment could not have been made possible without the great returners, the freshmen and the transfers who all believed in this program. These players wanted to be part of creating something great and are now enjoying its success.”
NJCU wins its fourth consecutive game to improve to 5-2 while the Crimson Eagles drop to 1-4. It was the first meeting between the schools in women’s soccer. NJCU outshot PBU, 38-3, and had a 9-0 advantage in corner kicks.
The loss for PBU was its most lopsided defeat since losing to Widener College, 8-0, in 2002.
Caseres scored four goals and had two assists for a 10-point scoring effort, after posting nine points in a win over Medgar Evers College on September 10. She becomes the third player in school history to have a double-digit scoring performance in one game, and combined with her nine points against MEC, she now owns two of the top five individual game performances in school history just seven games into her Gothic Knight career.
Caseres also increased her team and New Jersey Athletic Conference-leading scoring totals to 13 goals, eight assists and 34 points.
Cunha extended her streak of consecutive games with at least two points to seven in a row to open her collegiate career. Cunha had one goal and three assists for a five-point outing. She now has nine goals and five assists for 23 points in seven games and ranks second in the NJAC in goals and points. Cunha has had at least two points in all seven of NJCU’s games and four or more points in three contests.
Vargo and sophomore midfielder NICOLE DeMOTT (Rochelle Park, NJ/Hackensack) each had a goal and an assist while rookie defender DELIA CHERNEZ (Union City, NJ/Union City) tacked on her first career goal. The goal for DeMott was also her first collegiate marker.
Also for NJCU, junior forward JUANITA SARRIA (Englewood, NJ/Dwight Morrow) added her first goal of the year and 11th of her career. Freshman defender CHELSEA SPETHMANN (Wood-Ridge, NJ/Wood-Ridge (Hasbrouck Heights)) had one assist and was part of a defensive effort that allowed just two shots on goal. Reilly had one save for the win.
PBU’s lone goal actually tied the game at 7:30 of the first half as sophomore midfielder Sarah Schenkel (Macungle, PA/Emmaus) scored from the top of the box on a left-side cross from sophomore forward Kate Henley (Willow Grove, PA/Calvery Christian).
NJCU built a 1-0 lead just 2:44 into the game when Caseres scored on a long breakaway after a feed from the defensive zone by Spethmann, who earned her third assist of the season. That goal put Caseres into double figures on the year.
Four minutes after PBU tied it, Cunha gave NJCU the lead for good when she headed in a pass from DeMott on the left side of the box at 11:32. Caseres made it 3-1 only 36 seconds later when she went the distance on a breakaway up the left side at 12:08.
Caseres completed her hat trick and made it 4-1 at 22:05 of the half when she headed a Cunha cross from the endline into the open net. NJCU led 4-1 at the intermission.
Chernez bagged her first career goal at 49:35 of the second half. A Cunha corner kick from the right side allowed Chernez to head a shot inside the right post, off the opposing keeper.
DeMott made it 6-1 with her first college goal at 55:30 when she putback a rebound from 20 yards after Caseres, who assisted the play, slammed back-to-back hard shots off the defensive wall.
NJCU pulled away with two goals in a span of 43 seconds in the 75th minute. At 74:11, Caseres scored her fourth goal of the game as Cunha pushed a pass from the middle of the box to the right for the putaway. Vargo tallied her fourth goal of the year at 74:54 when her shot deflected in off the right post off a cross from the left by Caseres. The final goal came at 82:12 when Vargo sent a cross from the deep left wing to Sarria in the goalmouth.
The Knights return to the pitch on Wednesday, September 16 at 4 p.m. against Lancaster Bible College, in a home non-conference game at NJCU’s Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
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