Penalty Kicks Play Crucial Role in 4-3 Win for Women’s Soccer

Amanda Stiles winds up for the game-winning penalty kick.
Amanda Stiles winds up for the game-winning penalty kick.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Senior midfielder Amanda Stiles (Miller Place, N.Y.) blasted a penalty kick into the top shelf, in the 87th minute, to give the Sacred Heart University women's soccer team a 4-3 win over the University of Maine at Campus Field, Friday night.  The PK opportunity was set up by a handled ball in the box, leading to the Pioneers improving to 1-1 with the win in their first home game of the season.

Six of the seven goals scored in the game came in the second half.  Following the intermission, SHU made a change in keeper as sophomore Sydney Judkins (South Park, Pa.) made way for freshman Talia Schwartz (Roslyn, N.Y.).  The Black Bears challenged Schwartz immediately as freshman striker Jordan Pellerin slopped a ball into the box where senior Carolyne Nellis received it and placed it in the lower right corner to tie the game at one, just 29 seconds into the period.

At the 49:57 mark, Maine would strike again and take a 2-1 lead.  It was Nellis again, who fired a shot from 25 yards out to tally her third goal of the season.  The Pioneers remained resilient and tied the game at the 52:02 mark when junior midfielder Jen Mulvey (Manalapan, N.J.) was awarded a penalty kick.  Mulvey calmly stepped up to the penalty mark and slotted the ball to the lower left corner.  She also netted the first goal of the game, a header off a free kick from junior defender Lia Palmacci (Groton, Mass.).

The barrage of goals continued to pour in as the Black Bears would take back the lead in the 61st minute.  Junior midfielder Maddie Hill scored on a header that was set up by a short give-and-go corner kick and feed from senior defender Kaitlyn MacIsaac, credited with the assist.

Maine's lead was short lived as Sacred Heart responded quickly with a goal off a corner kick at the opposite end.  Sophomore defender Alyssa Brandofino (East Northport, N.Y.) floated a ball into the box for Stiles, whose header was blocked by a Black Bear defender.  SHU senior forward Samantha Kee (Haskell, N.J.) headed the ball out of midair and into the back of the net for the equalizing score.

As the game got late, both teams threatened to pull ahead.  In the 72nd minute, Kee fed junior defender Lauren Boccio (Dix Hills, N.Y.) the ball in a two-on-two situation.  With a defender on her back, Boccio raced into the box and put a shot off the post.  Moments later, Nellis had a chance for a hat trick in the 75th minute, but her shot on an open goal sailed wide left.

Junior goalie Meagan Price-Leibenzeder supplied eight saves in the losing effort for Maine, while Schwartz earned the win despite not making any saves.  Judkins made one save in the start, while junior defender Elizabeth Stewart (Seaford, N.Y.) provided one defensive save.  Sacred Heart owned a 17-8 advantage in shots for the game.

The Pioneers take to the field again on Sunday at Stony Brook for a 2:00 pm contest.