When The University of Scranton women's soccer team hosted Penn State-Berks at Fitzpatrick Field on Wednesday evening, a streak was bound to come to an end. The Royals entered the match on a 10-game winning streak while the Nittany Lions had not lost in its last 12 matches.
In the end, it was Scranton that extended its streak, winning for the 11th straight match by posting an impressive 3-0 victory on a cool, clear mid-October evening. The shutout was the team's third straight and 11th on the season, matching last season's total.
Senior goalkeeper Krissy Welsh (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) made seven saves for her 11th win of the season and her seventh shutout. She now has 23 clean sheets for her career, which moves her into fourth place alone on the Royals' all-time list.
The backline of seniors Erin Casey (Hatfield, Pa./Gwynedd Mercy Academy) and Carolyn Warner (Morris Plains, N.J./Parsippany Hills), junior Katie Cullen (Malverne, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy) and Becca Russo (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) combined with Welsh to stymie Penn State-Berks (11-3-1). The Nittany Lions came into the match averaging 6.4 goals per game. The Royals' defense allowed 11 shots, but just three after halftime as Scranton (13-1-1) turned a 1-0 halftime lead into a runaway victory.
That halftime lead came courtesy of a nifty combination between sophomore midfielder Taylor Stevens (Yardley, Pa./Villa Joseph Marie) and sophomore forward Jamie Hreniuk (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell). Stevens collected the ball on the left sideline in front of the PSU-Berks bench and threaded a long pass to Hreniuk at the left side of the penalty area. She did the rest, beating a defender and slotting a shot past the Nittany Lions goalkeeper and into the bottom right corner for her team-leading 10th goal of the season. Stevens' assist was her seventh, also the most on the team.
The Royals took full control in the 55th minute when Hreniuk found senior midfielder Kelly Egan (Essex Fells, N.J./West Essex) on the left wing and she calmly out-dribbled a defender and slipped a shot into the right corner for her fifth goal of the season. Hreniuk's assist was her third.
Scranton made it 3-0 in the 89th minute when sophomore midfielder Erica Licari (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown East) outfought two defenders in the penalty area to control a loose ball and score in close. It was her fifth goal of the season.
The Royals, who moved up the 21st in the latest D3soocer.com Top 25 earlier in the week, have now outscored their opponents 35-4 during the current winning streak. They will put that streak on the line Saturday when they host Goucher at 1 p.m. in a Landmark Conference matchup at Fitzpatrick Field. Prior to kickoff, the team will honor its eight seniors on Senior Day.