Photo by Dennis Schneidler

West Windsor, N.J. – The imprint of the New Jersey Wildcats was strong on Saturday evening at Mercer County Community College, where Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) edged perennial college powerhouse North Carolina, 1-0.

Photo by Dennis SchneidlerOn the professional side, former Wildcats head coach Jim Gabarra manned the sidelines for Sky Blue FC, where he is the Technical Director & Head Coach. On the field for Sky Blue FC was another former Wildcat, with 2014 First Round Draft Pick Maya Hayes getting the start at forward for the New Jersey club.

On the opposite side of the formation was yet another former Wildcat in defender Danae O’Halloran, who was penned into the Starting XI by Tar Heel head coach Anson Dorrance. This past fall, the New Jersey native made two starts and appeared in every match for North Carolina as a freshman, registering an assist and two shots over the season.  

O’Halloran played a key role for a North Carolina back line that only saw a single tally placed into the back of the net by their professional opposition.

Hayes played a significant role in that lone score, creating the opportunity in the 6th minute. After gaining possession, the former Penn State star was able to work her way down the left flank with the ball at her feet before turning and sending distribution to the center of the field. There awaiting the feed was midfielder Katy Freels, who took one touch and turned on a hard left-footed shot towards the frame. Her strike took a fortunate deflection off a defender that froze Tar Heel goalkeeper Lindsey Harris, giving host Sky Blue FC a 1-0 advantage that it was able to preserve for the remaining 84 minutes.

Sky Blue FC next heads to the In the Net Sports Complex in Palmyra, Pennsylvania, for a preseason match with Penn State University on Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m. The final game of their 2015 preseason will take place at Toms River North High School on Sunday, March 29th, when the team plays Rutgers University at 7:00 p.m.

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