Photo gallery (by Dan Ceccacci)
Junior midfielder Christina Akalski (Long Beach, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) had a pair of goals as The University of Scranton women's soccer team kicked off Landmark Conference action with its fifth straight victory, a 3-0 defeat of Susquehanna on Saturday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Field.
The Royals (6-2-1, 1-0 Landmark) broke open a scoreless game with early second-half goals by Akalski and senior forward Gianna Vitolo (Denville, N.J./Morris Knolls). Akalski got things started in the 52nd minute when she headed in a ball played back into the goalmouth by junior defender Carolyn Warner (Morris Plains, N.J./Parsippany Hills) after Warner's initial shot was saved.
Vitolo made it 2-0 in the 59th minute when she out-maneuvered a defender and deftly curled a shot inside the right post for her second goal of the season and 16th of her career. She now has 46 career points (16 goals, 14 assists).
Akalski finished the scoring in the 89th minute when she volleyed home a corner kick by junior midfielder Kelly Egan (Essex Fells, N.J./West Essex). The two goals give her three on the season and 15 for her career. Egan's assist was her third of the year, giving her a team-high 11 points this season, and the 13th assist of her career.
Warner's earlier assist was her first of the season and second of her career.
While the offense found its rhythm in the second half, the defense was on point from the opening whistle. The Royals allowed just one shot, and junior goalkeeper Krissy Welsh (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) picked up her fourth assist of the season and ninth of her career without needing to make a save. Warner, senior Jasmine Sconciafurno (Woodland Park, N.J./Passaic Valley), senior Megan Manzo (Shelton, Conn./Shelton), junior Jessica DePinho (Morganville, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) and sophomore Katie Cullen (Malverne, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy) all had strong games along the backline.
The Royals held a 15-1 edge in shots and 7-0 in corner kicks. Akalski had a team-high six shots while Vitolo added four.
Scranton has now won six straight conference openers and also improved to 13-2-1 all-time against Susquehanna.
The Royals are back in action on Tuesday, Sept. 29, when they host Wilkes in a non-conference match at 7 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Field. The match was originally scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 30.