Sky Blue FC lost to Penn State, 1-0, on a goal by Ellie Jean. (Jeffrey Auger Photo) 

MANALAPAN, N.J. – Sky Blue FC opened its National Women’s Soccer League preseason with a 1-0 loss to Penn State University at Sportika Sports Saturday.

Nittany Lions defender Ellie Jean tallied the lone goal in the 73rd minute.

“I am pleased with what our players did today,” Sky Blue FC head coach Denise Reddy said. “We worked all week on a certain aspect of our playing style, and applying it today was our main focus. Technically and tactically, we had a few breakdowns, but our players stayed true to what was asked of them throughout this match. As we continue in the preseason, we want to extend our moments, and that will come as we adjust to playing 90 minutes of our style.”

Sky Blue FC produced much activity on offense, with newcomers Shea Groom and Jen Hoy working very well with McKenzie Meehan up top. The trio was responsible for a handful of chances in the opening half, but a strong showing by PSU goalkeeper Rose Chandler kept the net clean.

The hosts should likely have went into the halftime intermission with a lead after creating three late scoring opportunities, including a final chance that saw a Groom shot hit the post in the 43rd minute.

Reddy began making heavy substitutions as the second half got underway, with Chandler continuing to be a hard puzzle to solve for the new players on the field. The lone goal came in the 73rd minute, when a scramble in the box ended with Jean sneaking a ball past keeper Kaycee Guinion.

Next on the preseason slate for Sky Blue FC is a 3 p.m. meeting with the University of North Carolina Saturday, March 3, followed up by a 1 p.m. contest against West Virginia University Saturday, March 10. Sky Blue FC will conclude its preseason docket when it welcomes St. John’s University into Sportika Sports for a 2 p.m. kickoff Sunday, March 18.

Scoring Summary:

PSU — Ellie Jean 73′


Starting XI: Casey, Simon, Freeman, Skroski, Gibbons, Richardson, Killion, Meehan, Groom, Hoy, Tiernan

Substitutes: Guinion, Corsaro, Rodriguez, Mills, Benintente, Conheeney, Abam, Sarkisian, Neary, Vigna, Magaletta

Head Coach: Denise Reddy

Misconduct Summary: