Sky Blue FC players celebrate one of their goals. (Jeffrey Auger Photo)
MANALAPAN, N.J. – Sky Blue FC won its first preseason match, recording a 2-1 win over the University of North Carolina at Sportika Sports Saturday.
Forwards Shea Groom and McKenzie Meehan recorded a goal and an assist apiece as the New Jersey side improved to 1-1.
“We continue to build upon our foundation each week, and I can really see the things we are working on in training come out in the games,” Sky Blue FC head coach Denise Reddy said. “I think we put together a lot more minutes this week, and we also did a much better job defensively. When we were in possession, we were in possession with a purpose, and that is how we are looking to play. I am extremely happy with the opportunities we were able to create and the way we were able to hold most of the possession during the game.”
Sky Blue FC opened the scoring in the eighth minute. Meehan collected in the midfield and delivered a superb pass that split the back line and found an open Groom racing down the right flank. Groom redirected a shot to the far post with her right foot that was beyond the extension of goalkeeper Samantha Leshnak for a 1-0 lead.
North Carolina pulled back the equalizer in the 43rd for a 1-1 tie..
In the second half, Sky Blue FC continued to create chances on the offensive end, eventually fidng the game-winner in the 75th minute.
Groom was played into the right side of the box and saw the defense collapse in her direction. While she had a look on goal, she saw that Meehan had a better opening and cut back a pass in her direction. Meehan then one-timed the feed for a 2-1 margin.
Next on the preseason slate for Sky Blue FC is a 1 p.m. contest against West Virginia University Saturday, March 10. The National Women’s Soccer League will conclude its preseason schedule when it welcomes St. John’s University into Sportika Sports for a 2 p.m. kickoff on Sunday, March 18.
8 NJ Shea Groom (McKenzie Meehan)
43 UNC Goal
75 NJ McKenzie Meehan (Shea Groom)
Starting XI: Gunion, Mills, Freeman, Skroski, Gibbons, Meehan, Killion, Rodriguez, Hoy, Abam, Groom
Substitutes: Ogunsami, Corsaro, Richardson, Simon, Benintente, Conheeney, Baxter, Sarkisian, Neary, Vigna, Magaletta
Head Coach: Denise Reddy