POSTGAME INTERVIEW | The College of Staten Island women’s soccer team took to the CSI Soccer Complex for the first time this season and defended it against the intruding Gothic Knights of New Jersey City University. The Dolphins moved to 2-0 on the year with a 3-0 win over the Gothic Knights which dropped them to 0-3 on the year.
Both teams possessed the ball and both had their chances early on with Mallensy Vargas carving through the Dolphins’ back line with some trickery. However, freshman goalkeeper Kaila DiBenedetto was able to dive to her left and parry the shot away from harm and keep the Gothic Knights off of the scoreboard. Keonjah Nugent was inserted into the game in the 21st minute and nearly put the Dolphins up when she scorched past the back line of the Gothic Knights and let a shot loose that knocked off the post and out of play.
Neither team would have another quality opportunity on net that would threaten until Nicole Mignone found herself in the 18-yard box. Just as she was about to uncork a shot at the goal, she was taken out and awarded an penalty kick with just 30 seconds until halftime. Mignone would step to the spot with confidence and bury it on the right side as goalkeeper Dominique Jackson guess wrong and dove the wrong way. The half time talks changed for both squads as the Dolphins went into half time with a 1-0 lead over the Gothic Knights.
At the half the Dolphins led 7-5 on shots while both teams earned three corner kicks. The Dolphins were not penalized for a foul in the first half while the Gothic Knights had six called against them.
Coming out in the second half the Gothic Knights put the early pressure on the Dolphins’ back line which caused Coach Giuseppe Pennetti to make a quick change at defense to bring in some fresh legs due to the grueling heat. The substitutes strengthened the defense and the Dolphins were able to nullify any attack NJCU tried to get going.
As the game wore on and the Dolphins controlled the ball and dictated the pace of the game. Then Jersey City got into trouble when Vargas took out Lauren Smith with a studs up tackle earning her a straight red card and an ejection from the game with 10 minutes to go. Just twenty seconds later Katherin Merino would be issued her second yellow of the game which ejected her from the game as well.
Now playing with two players down the Dolphins took advantage of their numbers and were able to put in the second goal of the game when Nermina Bracic slotted a pass through to Kaitlin Russo who was able to tuck it under an outstretched Jackson to increase their lead to 2-0. Three minutes later, Smith would uncork a cannon of a shot from 30-yards out that sailed over Jackson’s head and into the back of the net for the game’s final goal.