Seahawks set program record for wins with 2-0 victory over Wildcats
NEWPORT, R.I. - Senior Liz Galla (Beacon Falls, Conn.) compiled three points, including the game-winning goal, to help lift the Salve Regina University women's soccer team to a 2-0 victory over Johnson & Wales University at Reynolds Field on Wednesday evening. With the win, the Seahawks close out the regular season with a 12-5-1 overall mark, setting the program record for victories in a season. The loss drops the Wildcats to 11-7-2 on the year.
Galla paced the Seahawks with both a goal and an assist in the win, while junior Kaitlyn Birrell (Hope, R.I.) added a goal of her own to tie the SRU program record with 45 points on the season. Sophomore Jacqueline McPherson (Mansfield, Mass.) earned the victory in net for Salve Regina, making nine saves to shutout the Wildcats during her first start in goal this season.
The Wildcats received a team-high three shots on goal by freshman Emily Quinlan (Saugus, Mass.), while freshman Mackenzie Forbeck (Sussex, N.J.) made six saves in a losing effort during her first collegite start in net for the Wildcats.
The Seahawks jumped on the board in the opening three minutes of the contest when Galla took a long pass, chipped it over a defender, and then beat the JWU goalkeeper to the lower right corner to give Salve Regina a 1-0 lead.
Salve Regina had several other opportunities in the half, but after senior Jordan Sileo's (Bristol, Conn.) shot hit the crossbar, and an attempt by sophomore Erin McCullough (Ludlow, Mass.) hit the post, the two teams went into the break with the Seahawks holding a 1-0 lead.
The first half stats were fairly even with the Seahawks compiling a 9-7 edge in shots while both teams took two corners apiece.
The Seahawks expanded their lead to 2-0 in the 59th minute when Galla hit Birrell with a pass that led her past the JWU defense. Birrell charged the net with a defender on her hip and found the back of the net for her 18th goal of the season, tying the SRU record for points in a season with 45.
The Wildcats continued to fight, outshooting the Seahawks 5-3 the rest of the way, but were unable to get anything past McPherson who made several solid saves, including a leaping stop to push a shot over the net in what might have been JWU's best scoring chance of the evening.
The Wildcats have earned a bye in the opening round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament and will have to wait for the results to see who they'll face in the semifinals. The Seahawks will return to action on Saturday (1 p.m.), hosting Gordon College in the quarterfinal round of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament at Reynolds Fields.