MILLERSVILLE, Pa. — New Jersey Copa FC captured its second consecutive United Women’s Soccer East Conference regular season champion Saturday night.
NJCFC got a 46th-minute goal from Jasmine Colbert and a lockdown defensive effort led by right back Jenny Bitzer to secure a 1-0 road win over the Lancaster Inferno at Millersville University.
NJCFC’s second consecutive 1-0 win combined with a 3-2 victory by the New York Surf over the Long Island Rough Riders meant New Jersey Copa cannot be caught in the standings. NJCFC finished the regular season with an 8-1-1 record and 25 points for the second successive year.
New Jersey Copa FC posted its fifth shutout and third clean sheet in the last four games as Bitzer, center backs Alana O’Neill and Rebecca Raber and Megan Hunsberger limited Lancaster (4-5-0, 12 points) to four shots on goal but no true dangerous chances. Goalkeeper Aytana Muschajew made four saves.
Bitzer was named NJCFC woman of the match after shutting down Lancaster forward Haley Crawford, who entered the game second in the UWS with 10 of her team’s 17 goals this season.
Krystyna Freda, the reigning UWS player of the year, was forced from the game with an injury in the 40th minute, after enjoying several dangerous scoring chances.
Jasmine Colbert, who along with her twin sister Jada Colbert, have played in the FC Copa Academy and future seniors at Freehold Township High School, made their UWS debuts late in the first half with Jasmine taking Freda’s spot on the pitch.
But she had a dangerous scoring chance in her first minute of action and just six minutes after entering her first UWS game, Jasmine Colbert struck, finishing a breakaway thru ball slipped onto the far right wing from former FFC Frankfurt product Jessi Reinhardt, who picked up her first assist.
Colbert’s strike in the 46th minute proved to be the game-winner as she became the youngest player to score in an NJCFC UWS uniform at the age of 17.
New Jersey, 8-0-2 at home in its two-year existence, will have 10 days to rest before hosting the UWS East Conference championship game at St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel, N.J. Tuesday, July 18 at 7 p.m. The opponent is still unknown and will come down to either the New York Surf (6-2-2, 20), the New England Mutiny (6-3-0, 18) or Long Island (5-2-1, 16).
The Surf has concluded its 10-game slate. New England finishes its regular season Sunday against the Western New York Flash. Long Island has two games remaining, both at home, against the New York Magic (July 14) and Lancaster (July 16). If it advances, could play three games in five days.