Sky Blue scored three first-half goals in its preseason win. (Photo courtesy of Sky Blue FC, by Dennis Schneidler, DBJ Sports Photos).
QUEENS, N.Y. – Maya Hayes, Kelley O’Hara and Sarah Killion scored in the first half for Sky Blue FC, which recorded a 3-1 victory over St. John’s University in its preseason opener Saturday.
“We are delighted to get the first preseason game under our belt,” Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly said. “St. John’s always presents us with strong opposition, and they gave us different challenges throughout the game. It was good to see some combinations come together, as well as the connections that we have been looking to establish over the last couple of weeks. There is definitely some refinement that we want to do in the final third, but we are off to a good start. We are excited for what is yet to come.”
St. John’s grabbed a sixth-minute lead as forward Christina Bellero collected in the midfield before turning towards the Sky Blue FC goal. With goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan playing aggressively off her line, Bellero capitalized by chipping a ball over Sheridan’s head.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Sky Blue FC found an equalizer in the 12th minute. Costa Rican midfielder Raquel Rodriguez received distribution in the middle before delivering a hard roller to O’Hara on her right. The U.S. international played Hayes on top of the penalty area, where the New Jersey native back heeled a ball to Daphne Corboz on her left. Corboz sent it back to Hayes on a run to the far post, where she redirected a one-timer into the left-side netting.
Only two minutes later, Sky Blue FC increasted the lead to 2-1. Defender Kayla Mills ran up the right wing with possession before delivering a cross to the mouth of the frame to O’Hara, who finished off the feed for a go-ahead goal.
Sky Blue connected for an insurance goal in the 43rd minute after O’Hara gathered the ball on the right flank before facing triple coverage. She sent the ball to the middle of the box, where a clearance attempt by the St. John’s defense resulted in a pop-up that landed near Killion. She chested the ball down before hitting a strike with the outside of her right foot that curled over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
“We were given a lesson on Belson Stadium today,” St. John’s head coach Ian Stone said. “Sky Blue’s ball movement and combination was outstanding. What a fantastic learning experience for our student-athletes. We hope to learn from today and become a better team because of it.”
Next up on the preseason slate for Sky Blue FC is a 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon pairing with the University of North Carolina at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J. Admission for the game will be free of charge.
St. John’s returns to action Friday at 7 p.m. playing host to Division II LIU Post at Belson Stadium.
Sky Blue FC hosts FC Kansas City in its National Women’s Soccer League home opener Sunday, April 30 at 6 p.m. at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.