The University of Scranton women's soccer team put forth an impressive all-around effort on Saturday afternoon, handing Susquehanna a 3-0 loss at sun-splashed Fitzpatrick Field.
The Royals (7-2-2, 3-0-0 Landmark) turned a 1-0 halftime lead into a rout thanks to strong defense and relentless attacking on the offensive end. The victory was a key one as Susquehanna (10-1-1, 2-1-0) came into the match ranked sixth in the United Soccer Coaches Mid-Atlantic Region rankings, one spot behind Scranton. It also put the Royals in first place alone in the Landmark Conference.
Junior midfielder Taylor Stevens (Yardley, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) finished the afternoon with a goal and an assist. She put the Royals on the board in the 16th minute with her first goal of the season on an assist from fellow junior midfielder Brittany Uricchio (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury).
Junior forward Jamie Hreniuk (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) doubled Scranton's lead in the 60th minute when she headed home a corner kick by Stevens right at the goal line. It was Hreniuk's team-leading eighth goal of the season and the 21st of her career. Stevens picked up her third assist of the season and 17th of her career.
Senior forward Kelly Pompey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) put the game away in the 74th minute when she took a perfect pass from junior midfielder Erica Licari (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown East) and beat the goalkeeper for her third goal of the season and fifth of her career. Licari picked up her second assist of the season and 13th of her career.
While the offense was putting up numbers, the defense was busy holding Susquehanna scoreless. Scranton allowed just nine shots, five of which were on goal. Junior goalkeeper Colleen Berry (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) saved all five of them for her seventh shutout of the season.
The backline of seniors Hannah DeMars (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) and Katie Cullen (Malverne, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy), sophomore Becca Russo (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) and freshman Shea Guilfoyle (West Nyack, N.Y./Pearl River) had a strong game in front of Berry. They were at their best in the second half when they allowed just one shot on goal.
The victory is the 12th straight for the Royals against Landmark Conference opponents, dating back to the beginning of last season. During that span, they have outscored Landmark foes, 37-4, including 7-1 this season.
The women's soccer team will be back in action on Wednesday, Oct. 11, when they travel to Madison, N.J. to take on Drew in a Landmark Conference match at 7 p.m.