JERSEY CITY—Sophomore forward JULIA CASERES (Union, NJ/Union) delivered three assists and one goal—tying the single-season program record with 11 assists—and sophomore midfielder KATLIN VARGO (Edison, NJ/Union Catholic) connected for two goals as the New Jersey City University women’s soccer team outshot Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham, 24-12, and also doubled up the Devils on the scoreboard, winning 4-2 in a non-conference game on Tuesday at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
It was NJCU’s first-ever win against FDU, who won last year by an identical 4-2 score. The Gothic Knights improved to 8-6 overall with the win and 4-1 at home this year. FDU dropped to 4-6-2 with the loss and 2-2-1 this season against New Jersey Athletic Conference opponents. The Devils lead the all-time series, 4-1.
Caseres contributed to all four NJCU goals. Her 19th goal of the year proved to be the eventual game-winner—her fourth of the year. Now with 49 total points this year (19 goals, 11 assists), she tied the single-season record for assists set by current assistant coach KATIE FEEHAN in 2007. It was also the 12th time in school history that a player has amassed three assists in one game and Caseres, who also had three assists in a win over Medgar Evers College on September 10, becomes just the second player to accomplish the feat at least twice.
Vargo raised her season goal count to nine, scoring the first and fourth NJCU markers while freshman forward GABRIELLE CLARKE (Edison, NJ/J.P. Stevens)—making her first collegiate start—bagged her first career goal, to break a 1-1 tie in the 56th minute. Freshman forward ASHLEY CUNHA (Edison, NJ/Edison) contributed her seventh assist of the season.
With Caseres responsible for 49 points this year, Cunha with 31 and Vargo at 25, all three players have reached the top 10 list for most goals and points in single-season program history.
FDU, coached by former Gothic Knight head coach Kristin Spohn (2005 season), received both of its goals by junior forward Brittany Kanickij (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert)—her 10th and 11th of the year. Junior forward Lora Fink (Hamilton Square, NJ/Pennington Prep) had her eighth assist for FDU. Kanickij had eight of the Devils’ 12 shots, and six of the eight on goal.
While NJCU dominated possession in the first half, both defensives limited the number of shots in the period. The Knights had a 6-3 edge in first half shots, but owned a 1-0 lead at the break. Vargo got the Knights on the board at 22:40 with her eighth goal of the year. Caseres made a nifty move to beat a defender on the right endline, and then sent a cross to the left post, before Vargo slipped home a shot.
Both of FDU’s goals came during 1-on-1 situations. At 50:11, Fink sent a feed up the middle to create a breakaway for Kanickij, who lofted a shot into the top right corner, tying the game at 1-1.
But Clarke, who had five shots, including several fine scoring chances, would cash in five minutes after FDU tied it. Caseres set up the goal with a feed from the right wing that left Clarke all alone in the box, where she buried a shot into the open left side of the target at 55:34.
Just over two minutes later, Caseres and Cunha teamed up on a goal for the ninth time this year. Cunha aired out a cross from the right endline that skimmed through the box on two hops, directly to a pair of Gothic Knights. Both Caseres and Clarke were positioned on the left post, but it was Caseres who one-timed a shot into the left side of the goal at 57:59.
With NJCU leading 3-1, FDU made it a one-goal game at 76:46 of the second half. After the ball was poked away from an NJCU defender in the defensive third, Kanickij made a move on the left wing, tipping the ball past the defense and the charging keeper, and from the left endline, was able to score on a tough angle from 12 yards out, making it a 3-2 contest.
But NJCU’s top three scorers combined as the Knights received a crucial insurance goal four minutes later. Cunha sent a corner kick from the right endline into the box. Seconds later, FDU sophomore keeper Lauren Albrecht (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) cleared the ball from the goalmouth. But Caseres collected the ball at the top of the box, slipped a pass across the 18 to Vargo, who calmly settled the feed on the right side, and buried a shot from 20 yards out into the top left corner of the net for her ninth goal.
NJCU junior keeper KELLY REILLY (Pennsville, NJ/Pennsville Memorial) made six saves to win for the 24th time in her career. Sophomore Melanie Pierson (Brookside, NJ/Mendham) played the first half in net for FDU, stopping two shots, before being relieved in the second half by Albrecht, who made three saves.
NJCU had an 18-9 advantage in second half shots and a huge 8-1 margin in corner kicks.
The Knights will play the second of five consecutive home games on Sunday, October 11 at 1 p.m. against City College of New York. FDU hosts Misericordia in a MAC Freedom league game on October 10 at 12 p.m.
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