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Sky Blue Opens Season With Win Over Two-Time Defending Champion Reign

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Sky Blue FC opened up their 2016 campaign on the road against the Seattle Reign with a 2-­1 win.

The victory gave Sky Blue their first win against the Reign since 2013.

With six new starters in their starting lineup, Sky Blue started a little slow with the Reign controlling much of the possession through the first fourteen minutes. One of the new starters included rookie goalkeeper Caroline Casey who hails from William & Mary College.

In the seventh minute, her goal kick went directly to Reign forward Manon Melis who headed it towards goal. Casey was able to recover quickly and the ball had just enough backspin that Casey was able to save it off the goal line.

In the 15 minute, Sky Blue scored the first goal of the match. With good pace and build­up, Kelley O’Hara sent a cross to Natasha Kai who headed it past Hope Solo and gave Sky Blue the 1­0 lead. Casey made up for her 7th minute blunder with a point blank save on Melis in the 23rd minute to maintain the lead.

Sky Blue had an opportunity to extend their lead in the 35th minute when the referee awarded a penalty kick, but second year midfielder, Sarah Killion, was unable to convert. Through the end of the first half, Sky Blue was able to defensively close out Reign stars: Kim Little, Jess Fishlock, and Keelin Winters.

In the 52nd minute, the Reign equalized. Little played a cross into the box, Fishlock took a shot that went wide, but Merritt Mathias was there to head it in. This caused a momentum shift until Taylor Lytle lobbed the ball over Solo for Kelly Conheeney who netted her first NWSL goal in the 68th minute.

The Reign was unable to equalize with their best chance of the second half coming in the 70th minute when Kiersten Dallstream sent in a cross to Fishlock who missed the header.

Sky Blue will look to build off this win as they return to Yurcak Field for their home opener, April 24, against the Washington Spirit at 6:00 P.M. EST.

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