WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Sophomore midfielder Cíara Forde (Quincy, Mass.) netted a pair of goals to lead the Simmons College women's soccer team to a 3-0 victory over host University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) this afternoon in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference match at USJ Soccer Field in West Hartford, Conn. The Sharks improve to 8-7-2 overall and 7-4 in league play, while the Blue Jays fall to 6-10-1 and 4-6-1.
Simmons owned a 15-7 shot advantage for the match and also held a 6-1 margin on corner kicks.
Forde scored the eventual game winner at the 29:05 mark of the first half. She collected a pass near the top of the 18-yard box, made a couple dribbles to her left and then fired a curling shot with her left foot across frame and into the lower right corner of the net to give the Sharks all the cushion they would need in the shutout.
Saint Joseph's best scoring chance of the first half came in the 35th minute when sophomore Sarah Palko (Southington, Conn.) received a through ball from classmate Nicole Aquillo (Hebron, Conn.) behind the Simmons defense. Palko had a clean look at goal from point blank range, but her shot attempt went right at Simmons' junior keeper Casey Halle (Watertown, Mass.) who was able to make the stop and preserve the lead.
Simmons doubled its lead with the seventh goal of the season by first year forward Rachel Gilbert (Falmouth, Mass). Following a corner kick, junior forward Gabrielle Klane (Franklin, Mass.) lofted a shot on goal that forced Saint Joseph's first year netminder Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) sprawling into the air for a save. However, Ricci's attempt to punch it over the crossbar came straight down and right to Gilbert, who finished the rebound into a wide open net in the 55th minute.
The Sharks put the game out of reach 11 minutes later with the second goal of the game by Forde. Junior back Jessie Pratt (Westfield, Mass.) settled a ball at the top of the 18-yard box, played a touch pass to Forde who then ripped a shot with her left foot past a diving Ricci and into the top right corner of the net at the 65:23 mark. The goal marked the second of the game and sixth of the season for Forde and the assist was the first collegiate point for Pratt.
Palko and sophomore Rileigh Luba (Bristol, CT) each had two shots to lead Saint Joseph.
Halle registered her sixth career shutout with five saves for Simmons, while Ricci made six saves for the Blue Jays.
The Sharks will be in action again on Wednesday, October 26 when they host Eastern Connecticut State University in their regular-season finale at Daly Field at 7:00 p.m., while Saint Joseph resumes action in the first round of the GNAC Tournament as the number eight seed on October 30.