Spirit night perfect stage for women’s team

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Spirit night perfect stage for women’s team

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Alex Hall
Journal Staff

Spirit Night for Suffolk’s women’s soccer team at George Dilboy Stadium was last Oct. 19, and a solid crowd came out to support their team. Gifts were handed out during the festivities, including gift cards, sweatshirts and even iPods. The game itself was a good one, with a physical and intense match-up between two conference rivals.

Seniors Emily Joyce, Emma Lobozzo, Nancy Roxo, Graciela Sanchez and Janet Girardot were honored for being the first ever graduating class of the women’s soccer team’s four-year history. Each player was announced individually and received pictures with their respective families.

Once the pre-game festivities had concluded, the battle between the Lady Rams and Johnson and Wales began, with the Wildcats’ offense challenging Suffolk’s defense early and often. The excellent communication and passing early on was a surprising jolt for the visiting team. Luckily for the home team, the defense, anchored by Junior Kristina Michael, held the Wildcat offensive assault at bay. This gave the Lady Rams’ offense time to overcome their offensive troubles during the early part of the game. Both offenses played physical and had their respective opportunities to bury the ball in the back of the opposing net. However, with stellar play by both teams’ defenses and goalkeepers, the game remained a stalemate when the first half was over.

The second half began with an offensive explosion by the Lady Rams. Whatever was discussed in the Suffolk locker room ignited the struggling offense, leading to a fierce attack on the defense of JWU, eventually resulting in the game’s first goal. In the 48th minute of the match, Junior Natali Favati was able to drill a header off a Suffolk free kick into the net of the Wildcats, making the score 1-0.

The goal would serve as a wake-up call for the visiting squad, as Johnson and Wales would take control of the game, leading to a Wildcat goal, scored by Junior Berkeley Cecchini-Bond in the 64th minute. Typical of the pace of the game, Suffolk’s offense would step up its game. They refused to end their six-game winning streak and lose their last home game of the regular season. Thanks to excellent ball control from Junior Leslie Hayden and a beautiful cross by Freshman Gabrielle Balestrier to fellow first year player Taylor Miranda, the Lady Rams would regain the lead just three minutes after the JWU goal.

From this goal on, Suffolk found itself having to fend off several threatening offensive possessions by the Wildcats, who had ten shots on goal during the second half.

Luckily for the home crowd, however, Goalkeeper Emily Joyce and the defensive unit were able to weather the storm and improve to 11-2-1 on the season, winning their seventh game in a row in the process.

To top it all off, the team played their next match against Norwich, and won 2-1. Freshman Gabrielle Balestrier scored the first goal, with freshman Natalie Favati chipping in the second. In the process, they claimed first place in the GNAC, and will begin their playoff push, for the first time in the team’s four-year history, Sunday Oct. 31.

In addition, the team set a few individual records. Miranda set the record for points in the conference, with 46, while  Hayden set the record for assists with 14.

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