Is this so far fruitful, resolute-looking incarnation of the Friars here to say? At this point, the mere unrelenting existence of that question is a plus.
Pleasurably speculative question marks, petite plus signs, and an overall spectrum of favorable data was a tad emboldened yesterday as PC stapled the Holy Cross Crusaders, 3-0, at Glay Field, thereby enhancing their record on the season to 3-0 for the first time since 2001.
Beneath that margin of victory –trivially the best this program has tasted in a single game since another generation ousted Marist, 3-0, in September of 2002- was the imbalance in offensive tokens each team earned. Namely, the Friars sculpted the better part of their lead on two corner kick conversions in a first half that saw them run up nine CKs while authorizing none of the sort for the Crusaders. At day’s end, the Friars flaunted a 10-1 edge in the corners and a 16-9 differential in the shooting gallery.
Holy Cross keeper Jessica Stone dealt with seven shots on net in that decisive opening half alone and ultimately ran up a 7-for-10 save count in her third consecutive loss. Conversely, the single most taxing play on Jill Schott’s (3 saves) agenda was when she had to leap low to her right to thwart Paige Harrison’s penalty kick at the 43:38 mark.
Schott’s teammates –who around the midway point of the first half collaborated for three blocks within 11 seconds- would filter six of the Crusaders’ nine registered shots on the day, and by the time Harrison spilled her free stab, the Friars were already up 2-0.
For the better part of the opening half, PC’s circumvention of the Crusaders’ brimming five-body defensive wall earned it a consistent buffet of corner kicks –a majority of them taken by starting backliner Christie Gent, one of two Friars (opposite fellow defender Megan Mancarella) to play the full length of the excruciatingly sun-baked (86 degrees) game- though the first five couldn’t hatch the key goose egg.
Finally, at 22:35, an own goal thawed out that nuisance. And roughly nineteen minutes later, Laura DiClemente leveled the ball out from the right corner and watched as it briefly hung suspended in a dense goal-box soup of black and white uniforms. But ultimately, rookie middie Courtney Collins clamped it down and raked her first collegiate goal within the left post.
PC’s precision and intensity lessened a touch in the second half (3 SOG on 6 overall attempts), though they did stash away a helpful third goal within the third minute of the frame. DiClemente, suffocated by Crusader defender Michaela Morgan and on the brink of leaning out of bounds, handed things over to Caitlin Hostetler in the right lane. Hostetler offered a lateral feed to Kate DelCampio, who in turn left a rebound for Kelley Pettersen to swoop at from the left side and thrust into the top mesh of the cage.
Schott, who took cautious initiative on a handful of second half Holy Cross stabs, only needed to crouch at and swallow Katherine Donnelly’s blistering low riding boot at precisely 62:00. And by the 83rd minute, she had given way to freshman Caitlin Walker, who received little more than a bite-sized, soak-in-the-atmosphere collegiate debut, while the Friars heaved three more bids at the shortcoming Stone.
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press