UNION—Kean University sophomore forward Danielle Esposito (Holmdel, NJ/Holmdel) notched a hat trick to account for the entire offensive output for the Cougars, and despite 11 saves by Gothic Knight junior keeper KELLY REILLY (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville Memorial), Kean blanked NJCU, 3-0, in a New Jersey Athletic Conference women’s soccer game on Wednesday night at Kean Alumni Stadium.
Kean improves to 3-3-2 and 1-1 in the league, while NJCU drops its second straight, falling to 6-4-0 (0-2 NJAC). Kean leads the all-time series, 16-0. Kean outshot NJCU, 22-8, but the Knights held a 5-3 edge in corner kicks.
Esposito entered the game with three goals in seven games but doubled her season totals in the game. It was the second consecutive season she has notched a hat trick versus the Knights. In all, Esposito had a game-high seven shots, including six on goal.
Kean took a 1-0 lead at 16:35 of the first half when Esposito scored on an assist from junior midfielder Lara Kaminski (Rahway, NJ/Union Catholic), her third of the year.
Esposito made it 2-0 just 4:02 later when she netted a shot at 20:37 off a pass from senior midfielder Jenna Godwin (Kingwood, NJ/Delaware Valley Regional), her second assist of the season.
NJCU had a chance to cut the lead in half at 23:40 of the first half when sophomore striker JULIA CASERES (Union, NJ/Union), the Division III national leader in goals (15) and assists (8), missed a penalty kick high.
Esposito capped off her second career hat trick and added an insurance goal nearly eight minutes into the second half, when sophomore defender Danielle Martini (Flemington, NJ/North Hunterdon) chipped in her first assist at 52:43.
Reilly’s 11 saves marked her second double-digit save performance this year. She played 78:30 of the contest before being relieved by freshman keeper CATHERINE HENSLEY (Dripping Springs, TX/Dripping Springs) for the final 11:30. Hensley stopped two shots.
Kean received two saves from junior keeper Leandra Russo (Galloway, NJ/Absegami), who posted her second shutout of the year.
NJCU is back in action on Saturday, September 26 at 1 p.m. when it hosts Rutgers-Newark in an NJAC game at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
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