LONGMEADOW, Mass.- Senior forward Jai Ruiz (Hadley, Mass.) scored twice to clinch Bay Path's first New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) victory 2-to-1 over the Newbury College Nighthawks in the conference opener today at Ryan Field. Senior forward Megan Mackie (APO, AE) tallied the assist and along with fellow senior Joanna Feliciano (Springfield, Mass.) helped drive the Wildcats to todays victory.
Ruiz pushed early scoring the first goal at 8:57 on the clock on an unassisted drive past two defenders. Ruiz again found the back of the net at 14:32 on the clock after converting a blocked shot by Mackie, which would prove to be the eventual game winner. Feliciano finished with seven shots.
In the second half, freshman midfielder Zariya Smith (Orlando, Fla.) broke up the Wildcats' shutout in the 62nd minute scoring the Nighthawks lone goal.
Junior goalkeeper Caitlyn Esposito (East Haven, Conn.) garnered the win facing five shots, three on goal, with two saves. Newbury's senior keeper Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) suffered the loss with six saves facing 27 shots, eight on goal.
The Wildcats are now 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the NECC, Newbury falls to 1-5 on the season and 0-1 in conference play. Bay Path will host Northern Vermont-Johnson (Johnsons State) in a 1:00 pm match tomorrow September 16th, while Newbury is back in action on Thursday, September 20th traveling to Mass. Maritime for a 7:00 pm night game.