SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Looking to extend a two-game beaten streak, the Bryant University women's soccer team returns to league play this weekend for a pair of games against Northeast Conference foes, traveling to Brooklyn, N.Y. to battle Long Island University on Friday (Oct. 7) before returning to Smithfield to host Sacred Heart on Sunday (Oct. 9).
With three league games already under their belts, the Bulldogs (5-4-3, 1-1-1 NEC) will look to pick up their second league victory since downing Wagner College, 2-0, on Sept. 23. Picked to finish third in the conference prior to the start of the season, the Blackbirds (4-7, 1-2) come into Friday's matchup in the midst of a two-game losing streak, and have dropped three of their last four matches.
The Bulldogs earned a 2-1 victory in their final non-league match of the year last Sunday, edging the University at Albany, 2-1, by virtue of a pair of goals from junior Krista Johnstone (Dover, N.H.) over a 30-second span to pace the team on the scoring end.
After being shut out, 1-0, at Mount St. Mary's on Sept. 30, Long Island was defeated, 3-2, at Monmouth on Oct. 2. Graduate student Kayleigh Morgan and senior Ariana Calderon tallied goals for the Blackbirds over the span of last weekend's games, and both are atop the team's scoring leader board. Calderon's 51 points rank third-most in LIU history, while her 22 goals are the second-most that the program has ever seen. Morgan, meanwhile, has totaled 19 goals and 46 points over the course of her career, with both ranking fifth all-time at LIU. Jennifer Bannon has seen most of the action between the pipes, logging 1040:58 of action with a 1.38 goals-against average and a .714 save percentage.
Bryant will be looking for its first victory in the all-time series, as LIU owns a pair of 1-0 victories over the past two seasons. Most recently, the Blackbirds gutted out a one-goal win in Smithfield on Oct. 17, 2010, as junior goaltender Kelsi Jacob (Mahwah, N.J.) made seven saves in a losing effort. The Bulldogs fell by that same margin two years ago, dropping a 1-0 decision at LIU on Oct. 30, 2009.
Sacred Heart also enters the weekend having dropped both of its games last week, but boast a 3-3-2 road record on the season. The Pioneers (5-4-3, 1-2-1) were handed a heartbreaking loss in the 105th minute against Saint Francis (PA) last Sunday, with Brianne Bell netting the game-winner late in double overtime. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series dating back to 2008, owning a 1-0-2 record, including a 3-1 victory on Oct. 16, 2009. Most recently, both teams fought to a scoreless draw on Oct. 3, 2010, as Jacob earned a shutout via a six-save performance.
In both of their road games last week, the Pioneers nearly doubled both their opponents in shot attempts (14-7 vs. St. Francis and 13-7 vs. Robert Morris), but were unable to convert on any chances. to goals.
Sacred Heart is led by senior Amanda Stiles, who has 10 points on a team-leading five goals through 12 games. Sophomore defender Alyssa Brandofino has dished a team-high three assists from the backline, while junior Sydney Judkins has logged 936:00 in net while boasting a 1.15 GAA and a .789 save percentage.