JERSEY CITY—Sophomore forward JULIA CASERES (Union, NJ/Union) and freshman forward ASHLEY CUNHA (Edison, NJ/Edison) each netted hat tricks and sophomore midfielder KATLIN VARGO (Edison, NJ/Union Catholic) contributed two goals while matching the single-game school record for shots as New Jersey City University outshot the College of Staten Island, 61-4, and sank the Dolphins, 11-0, in a non-conference game on Wednesday at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field. The 61 shots are a single-game school record, eclipsing the mark of 57 against City College of New York on September 8 of this season.
NJCU (11-7, 7-2 home) increased its single-season record for victories both overall and at home while guaranteeing its first winning season since 1994, when the Gothic Knights were 9-7. NJCU, which leads NCAA Division III in total goals with 73, broke the single-season team record for offensive output. That mark of 65 goals had been achieved just last year. NJCU has four more goals than Hardin-Simmons University (TX), which has netted 69.
NJCU also leads the Bayonne Bridge Series against Staten Island, 4-1. The Dolphins dropped their fourth straight with the setback (3-10-2).
On Senior Day at NJCU, the young Knights honored their lone senior, four-year starting defender and two-time All-New Jersey Athletic Conference recipient JESSICA IRIZARRY (Perth Amboy, NJ/Perth Amboy). She collected one goal and two assists on nine shots.
Meanwhile, NJCU tied the single-game school record with nine assists and the 11 goals and 31 combined points are second most in school history. The 11 goals are a season high and mark only the eighth time in school history and the second time this year the Knights have reached double figures in goals in an outing.
Caseres, who netted her fifth hat trick, sixth game-winning goal and ninth multiple-goal game this year, increased her NCAA Division III national lead in goals (26) and points (64)—both second on the single-season list at NJCU. She scored the first, fifth and 11th goals of the game, taking 11 shots.
Meanwhile, her assist on the second goal of the contest was her 12th of the year, breaking the single-season school record of 11 she had shared with current assistant coach Katie Feehan (2007).
Cunha bagged her 16th, 17th and 18th goals of the year—notching the second, third and fourth goals of the game in a span of 9:10 in the opening half—while assisting on the game winner. She collected her second hat trick of the year and fourth multiple-goal game. In the first 18 games of her collegiate career, Cunha has at least two points in 13 contests. Her seven-point outburst was a personal best.
Cunha and Caseres, the top two scorers in the NJAC, teamed up on a goal for the 11th and 12th time this year.
Vargo equaled the single-game school record for total shots with 16, matching the mark set by Jennifer Albuja on October 1, 2007 against Keystone College. Vargo, who put six shots on target, did not score until her 15th shot of the game, then also tallied a goal on her 16th shot. Now with 11 goals and 10 assists, she and Caseres become the only pair of teammates with double figures in goals and assists in one season. Cunha is one assist shy of becoming the third player to do so this year.
Also for NJCU, freshman defender KATHERINE MORALES (Newark, NJ/East Side) and rookie midfielder ANDREA SUAREZ (Jersey City, NJ/Dickinson) each tallied single goals. Morales totaled her second of the year while Suarez scored her first collegiate point.
The Knights received single assists from freshmen defenders AMANDA SPETHMANN (Wood-Ridge, NJ/Wood-Ridge—Hasbrouck Heights) and MADELINE BASSETTI (Queensland, Australia/Shalom College, Australia), sophomore defenders ERICA PERCELLA (Bayonne, NJ/Bayonne) and NICOLE SARICA (Linden, NJ/Linden) and sophomore midfielder ERICA BUONACQUISTA (Aberdeen, NJ/Bayonne).
Freshman keeper CATHERINE HENSLEY (Dripping Springs, TX/Dripping Springs) made one save to record her first collegiate victory and shutout, and the club’s second shutout of the year. CSI freshman keeper Mayda Perdomo (Staten Island, NY/Port Richmond) made 17 saves under heavy attack.
The Knights scored the only goal they needed 5:23 into the first half when Caseres kneed home a Cunha corner kick from the left endline on the left post.
It was her 24th goal and Cunha’s ninth assist.
Cunha scored three consecutive goals at 8:53, 15:00 and 18:03. The first was a gorgeous goal that saw Spethmann slip a pass up the right sideline to Caseres, who crossed a ball from the right endline into the box where Cunha headed home a shot inside the left post. That goal gave Caseres the single-season assists mark.
Cunha scored the third and fourth goals of the game on her own. Her 17th goal of the season was a sharp one-timer after she dribbled onto the right wing. She completed her hat trick 3:03 later when she swiped a ball from the defense at midfield and drove to the goal before unleashing a shot into the upper 90.
At 25:08, Bassetti was credited with her second assist of the year as Caseres slammed in the rebound of the Aussie’s header attempt. Caseres became only the second NJCU woman to ever score 25 goals in one season with that marker. NJCU led 5-0 at the break, outshooting the Dolphins 34-2 in the period.
Vargo’s 15th shot of the game at 66:38 of the second half was her 10th goal of the year, scoring on a header off a chip from Percella, who chipped in her first career assist. Just 94 seconds later, Irizarry uncorked a shot that Perdomo stopped before Morales knocked the rebound into the open net at 68:12 for her second goal of the year and Irizarry’s third assist.
Irizarry notched her Senior Day goal—the fourth of her career—at 76:10 with a top-shelf one-timer from the right wing. Irizarry slid a thru ball into the box at 76:10 as Vargo collected her 11th goal of the year. It was Irizarry’s seventh career assist.
Suarez collected her first collegiate point at 86:47, scoring on a breakaway off a Sarica thru ball into the box, bagging a shot into the left of the net. Buonacquista pushed a thru ball onto the right wing with 20 seconds left, which an undefended Caseres rifled across the box into the left side for her 26th netter.
NJCU is still alive for an NJAC Tournament berth but must win its final two league games. It starts that challenge on Saturday, October 24 at 3 p.m. against Rutgers University-Camden in Camden, NJ. The Dolphins are back on the pitch that day with a home conference game against Medgar Evers College at 2 p.m.
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