Freels leads Sky Blue FC to 3-0 Preseason Win


Midfielder Katy Freels led a second half charge with a goal and an assist to power the NJ Sky Blue FC to a 3-0 preseason win over St.John’s University at Wexler field in Scotch Plains NJ Saturday. 2015 Second Overall Draft Pick Sarah Killion and forward Maya Hayes also contributed a tally each in the second half.

Playing amid a steady rain in front of an enthused crowd, both teams played tentatively in the first half. The first scoring chance for Sky Blue FC came in the 6th minute of the match, with defender Meg Morris driving up the left flank before delivering a cross to the center of the penalty area. There awaiting the distribution was Freels, who put a solid shot on goal that St. John’s net minder Katie De Vault was able to manage. De Vault played a solid first half for St. John’s and was the most consistent performer on the field for the red.

“During the first half, there was really just one portion where I liked the way we played and maintained possession. I thought we were a little bit tentative and conservative in the first half,” said Sky Blue head coach Jim Gabarra.

Freels picked up her play starting around the 28th minute, collecting a ball on top of the box before chipping it over the defense where Hayes was able to head it over the top of De Vault. The ball appeared to be headed into the open goal, but it was cleared away by a fast arriving defender.

The following minute, forward Shawna Gordon delivered a sharp cross from the left flank that again saw Hayes as the recipient, but her ensuing shot rocketed just wide of the right post. Hayes was roughed up by an aggressive St.John’s defense, being pulled down to the ground violently twice, once in each half.

The scoreless deadlock was finally broken in the 50th minute. Following another hard tackle of Hayes in the penalty area, a referee whistle resulted in a penalty kick opportunity. Stepping over the try was Freels, who immediately fired a hard shot into the left netting to place Sky Blue FC on the scoreboard, 1-0.

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  • In the 56th minute, Freels was able to rob a St. John’s defender of possession and the former Auburn standout quickly looked up to find a streaking Killion running down the right flank. Freels then placed the ball in space for Killion, who hammered a one-timer into the back of the net to make it 2-0, bringing a loud cheer from the rain-soaked crowd.

    The rain finally subsided near the end of the second half when final goal of this match then occurred in the 77th minute. On the play, former Alabama midfielder Theresa Diederich slotted a ball through the center of the defense, where Hayes was able to collect and rip a well-struck ball to earn her first goal of the preseason.

    “I was pretty pleased with the second half, we collectively made some good adjustments at halftime. In the second half, we picked up the tempo and the pressure, and we were able to score some goals. Overall, we are very pleased to get out of here with no injuries and having had the opportunity to play 90 minutes together,” Gabarra said about the second half performance of his team. Next up for Sky Blue FC in its 2015 Preview Series Presented by Meridian Health is a pairing with the University of North Carolina on Saturday, March 21st, where the two sides will play a 3:00 p.m. game at Mercer County Community College.

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    Despite the dreary conditions, many people came from neighboring towns to see the match and players from the boys and girls travel teams for Scotch Plains served as ball boys and girls. A scrimmage featuring town club teams was held during halftime.

    Scoring Summary

    St. John’s     – 0 0 0

    Sky Blue FC – 0 3 3

    SBFC – 50’ K.Freels (Penalty Kick)

    SBFC – 56’ S.Killion (K.Freels)

    SBFC – 77’ M.Hayes (T.Diederich)

    Starting Lineups:

    SBFC – B.Cameron, R.Breton, M.Morris, K.Grubka, L.Custhall, N.Stanton, S.Killion, K.Freels, G.Wagner, M.Hayes, S.Gordon

    SJU – K. De Vault, E.Cubbage, R.Daly, A.Urbanski, M.Martinov, D.Thomas, S.Halasz, M.Tinari, J.Schaefer, M.Gonzalez Bullon, A.Moar

    Misconduct Summary:


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