Sailfish Offense Comes Out Strong In Season Opener

Written By: Michael Brown, Palm Beach Atlantic University SID

West Palm Beach, FL- With high expectations and a solid preseason under their belts, the Palm Beach Atlantic University women’s soccer team opened up their 2007 campaign with a resounding 7-1 victory over St. Thomas University before a solid showing of fans and alumni at Lantana Field.

Using a balanced scoring attack and a defensive effort which kept the visiting Bobcats at bay for most of the evening, the Sailfish had to be pleased with their opening game effort.

“It was tough giving up that late goal but overall I was very pleased with the girl’s efforts on both sides of the ball,” said head coach Dwayne Whiteheart after the long-awaited season-opening contest.

A dynamic scorer during her first two seasons wearing the blue and white, junior Brandi Bianco continued to provide the Sailfish with a potent scorer as she placed two in the net on Thursday evening while also adding an assist. Not alone as a peak performer, Bianco was joined by five other players in the scoring column as PBA cruised to victory.

Junior Laura Bowers got things started with the opening goal on a swift pass from Bianco only five minutes into the game. Bianco, a 5’5” forward from Palm Harbor, Florida knocked in her first score of the night on the next Sailfish scoring opportunity with some help from Angie Kuhn who also had a stellar season debut.

Kuhn followed with the next goal unassisted after the Bobcats placed the Sailfish in prime scoring territory after a foul. Now up 3-0, coach Whiteheart was able to utilize his strong and deep bench with the insertion of junior Liz Kendig who promptly added a score with an assist from Kuhn to give the Sailfish a 4-0 lead entering halftime.

With both teams experiencing some early-season conditioning issues, both coaches were forced to use many of their reserve players which only seemed to aide the Sailfish attack. Ten minutes into the second half, Bianco would strike again, this time off of a Lindsey Bates assist to give PBA a 5-0 lead.

With the PBA defense striving for a shutout, the Bobcats were finally able to break through with a score by senior Sandra Vargas. West Palm Beach native Jessica Rodriguez responded for PBA by adding a goal to put the lead back to 6-1 in favor of the Fish.

Kayln Rushing, making her PBA debut as a freshman from Altamonte Springs, Florida and Lyman High School, connected on her first career score with the help of Laura Bowers with about 4:45 remaining in the game to cap the game’s scoring.

Sophomore Ashley Morrell, a product of Park Vista High School in nearby Lake Worth started for the Sailfish as the goalkeeper and recorded five total saves. Lea Jones protected the pipes for STU while registering four saves against 11 Sailfish shots.

PBA doesn’t have long to feel good about the season opening win as they will be traveling to cross-town rival Northwood University for another important early-season contest coming up on Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. The Sailfish’s next home contest will be Tuesday, September 11th as they play host to Florida Tech with a start time of 7:00 p.m.

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