STANDISH, Maine – Senior Haley DaGraca (Saco, Maine) broke a scoreless tie in the 56th minute to lift Saint Joseph's College (1-0) past University of New England (0-1), 1-0, in a non-conference women's soccer game at the SJC Athletics Complex on Friday evening.
The matchup between the in-state rivals featured mostly midfield play for the better part of the evening, but at the 55:08 mark DaGraca found space down the left side of the field and unleashed a laser into the top right corner of the net to account for the game's only offense. Sophomores McKenzie Murphy (West Baldwin, Maine) and Brenna Smith (Maynard, Mass.) set up the play with two quick passes and both were credited with an assist on the strike.
Saint Joseph's freshman goalie Adia Grogan (Kennebunk, Maine) turned away all four of the shots she faced in her collegiate debut to pick up her first NCAA shutout while her counterpart, UNE senior Emily Ashman (Madison, Conn.) recorded four saves in a hard-luck loss.
For the Monks, the victory over the Nor'easters is the team's first since November 4th, 1998 when SJC topped UNE by a 2-0 score in Standish. University of New England entered tonight's contest having defeated Saint Joseph's in five-consecutive meetings by a 21-4 composite score. The two Maine programs did not face each other in the regular season from 1999 to 2012.
The triumph also marks the Monks' first season-opening win since the 2013 campaign when St. Joe's topped Husson University in that year's inaugural action in overtime, 1-0.
Both teams return to action Sunday, when Saint Joseph's plays at Husson University (11:30 AM) and University of New England hosts Wheaton College (1:00 PM).