Breakers beat UConn to wrap up 2015 preseason

(April 4, 2015) – The Boston Breakers ended their 2015 preseason on a high note, beating the University of Connecticut, 3-1, Saturday night at ForeKicks Sports Complex in Marlborough, Mass.

"From a competitive standpoint, it was probably the toughest match we've had," Boston Breakers head coach Tom Durkin said. "It was a smaller field, and UConn is quite physical. Maybe they aren't quite as good from a technical standpoint like some of the other teams we've played, but from a physical standpoint, they were by far the strongest."

Forward Stephanie McCaffrey opened the scoring in the 17th minute, latching onto a cross from Maddy Evans at the top of the six before quickly turning on her defender and beating keeper Sam Whitney with a searing, left-footed drive into the top corner of the net.

UConn took advantage of an opportunity in front of goal 10 minutes later to level the match. Tanya Altrui struck a shot from the top of the box, beating Breakers keeper Jami Kranich to make it a 1-1 game.

The Breakers wasted little time at taking the lead for the second time in the match. Two minutes after UConn tied the game, McCaffrey linked up with her former Boston College teammate Kristie Mewis, laying off a pass just inside the 18. Mewis took one touch before hitting it past Whitney for the 2-1 lead.

The Breakers threatened a few times in the second half, but to no avail. Chanel Johnson and Katie Schoepfer launched thunderous shots toward goal, only to see their efforts go just over the crossbar. In the 71st minute, the Breakers put the game out of reach when defender Rachel Wood knocked in Stephanie Verdoia’s service into the box off a corner kick to make it a 3-1 final.

With the win Saturday night, the Breakers finished the 2015 preseason with a 4-0 record. They outscored their opponents, 17-1. Kristie Mewis led the team in goals scored with three. Five others tallied two goals each: Maddy Evans, Stephanie McCaffrey, Cat Whitehill, Suzane Pires, and Bianca Brinson. Rachel Wood, Morgan Marlborough, Nkem Ezurike, and Amy Barczuk scored one goal each during the preseason.

Stephanie Verdoia led the team in assists (three), followed closely by Brazilian midfielder Bia (two). Marlborough, McCaffrey, Samantha Lofton, and Jasmin Corniel all registered one assist apiece.

The Breakers opened preseason with a 4-0 win over Boston College before beating the Jamaican Women’s National Team twice, both 5-0 results, and ending with a 3-1 win Saturday night over UConn.

Keepers Alyssa Naeher and Jami Kranich combined for the shutout against Boston College. Kranich earned the clean sheet in the first win over Jamaica in St. Augustine, Fla., and combined with Paige Burnett for the shutout in the second match against the Reggae Girlz in Winter Springs, Fla.

The Breakers return to the training ground Monday in preparation for their 2015 NWSL opener, which takes place on Saturday, April 11, on the road at Portland Thorns FC (10 p.m. ET kickoff). 

"The girls are getting settled in," Durkin said. "We're not at 100 percent efficiency yet, but I'm really satisfied with their preparation. I don't think we could've done a better job (this preseason). I'm really impressed with the girls. From a standpoint of attitude, concentration, and effort, they are a 10 out of 10."

The Breakers head back to Boston for their home opener on Sunday, April 26, at 5 p.m. ET, facing the Houston Dash at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium on the campus of Harvard University (Allston, Mass.). Tickets are available by visiting www.breakerstickets.com.

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