Sky Blue FC won its third match in a row as two 2016 draft picks led the way on offense and it goal.
In its 1-0 win over Washington Spirit, Leah Galton scored the game’s only goal while keeper Caroline Casey recorded the clean sheet. With the win, Sky Blue (6-4-4) moved into a fourth place tie with Chicago Red Stars.
“We are obviously delighted with the outcome of the game,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We asked some players to work in different positions tonight, and every single player who stepped onto this field gave us a top class performance. It truly speaks volumes about the amount of respect and belief that every player has in one another, as well as their hunger to push through and do whatever it takes to get another win in front of a fantastic group of fans.”
In the 24th minute, Sky Blue FC opened the scoring when defender Erin Simon played a ball that split Spirit defender Whitney Church on the sideline to find the advancing Galton. The British international touched her way into the box before reaching the end line. She fired a shot into the top-shelf to give Sky Blue a 1-0 lead.
Washington nearly tied the game in the 58th minute. Spirit forward Cheyna Williams turned into space inside the area before looking to fire a point blank shot. However, Sky Blue FC defender Kristin Grubka deflected the shot with her foot that made the ball swirl and hit the near post. The rebound then landed right at the feet of Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman, who was standing directly in front of the goal. Lohman struck a ball towards the net, only to see Sky Blue FC defender Erica Skroski block the shot with her left foot. Lohman then stepped right to collect the deflection, but Grubka once again hit the ground to cover any angles to the frame. The ball then rolled towards the end line, where Casey was able to clean it up.
Throughout the remaining half-hour of this contest, both sides continued to battle, with Casey and the Sky Blue FC back line continuing to come up big at key moments.
Sky Blue FC is now 4-1-3 in its last eight matches and won its third consecutive game for the first time since the end of the 2014 season. Washington suffered just its third defeat of the 2016 season, with two of those losses being dealt to them by Sky Blue FC.
After the game concluded, Pine Belt of Lakewood Player of the Match honors were given to midfielder Nikki Stanton, who came up big for Sky Blue FC in the absence of Sarah Killion and Raquel Rodriguez in the middle of the field.