The Red Hawks made a statement this year and portrayed themselves as a real threat for years to come. They finished the year at an amazing 13-3-3 and were ranked as one of the top teams in the country throughout the season.
The year was filled with many great moments and inspiring stories. Stories that ranged from senior Aileen Cahill’s team-leading 12 goals to the many saves that graduate student goalkeeper Haley Martin had all season.
Also, how can we forget about the hat trick that sophomore Julie Baker got on senior day. It was the first time she played that position and she gave Montclair State University a tremendous boost to beat the Ramapo Roadrunners. Winning was a constant theme for Montclair State as they brought out the best in each teammate.
“My favorite win from the season would definitely have to be Misecordia,” junior defender Emmi DeNovellis said. “It was a moment I won’t forget considering we beat the number nine-ranked team in the country. This win not only brought us team chemistry on the field, but it also gave us the win that we wanted so badly that day. The game was really important to us and everyone stepped up big. Going into halftime up 3-0 was a good feeling, but we knew the job wasn’t finished.”
It was wins like this that helped build this team into what it was the whole season. The Red Hawks played with grit and played their hearts out each time they went onto the soccer field.
Montclair State was more than just a college soccer team. They were one big family and they prided themselves on that.
There were hardly any regrets in the 2023 campaign, but there were certain games that could have given Montclair State an advantage heading into tournament play. One of the games that Martin wanted another shot at was that draw against Stockton.
“I would replay our regular season game against them,” Martin said. “I think that draw had a major impact on our NJAC standings and I truly believe if we had another five minutes in that game, we could’ve gotten a win. We were really only inches away from it.”
As a community, all of Montclair State wanted them to go further and further, knocking down each hurdle that was in their way. The Red Hawks lost in the NJAC tournament semi-final however the season was not over as they were admitted to the NCAA tournament.
Montclair State would travel to Virginia Beach for the opening round in a matchup with Virginia Wesleyan University. It ended up being a highly competitive game as it was tied up at two at the end of regulation.
The game would come down to penalty kicks and Virginia Wesleyan prevailed with a 2-1 advantage at the end of it.
“There were a lot of emotions going into the day of the selection and we were unsure of the result,” Martin said. “Being around the people you love in those nerve-racking moments can be super comforting, and obviously we got the result we wanted so everyone was electric. The energy in the room couldn’t be matched.”
A moment in time that will never be forgotten and is something that the team will remember for the rest of their lives. Memories are forever, especially for those that are moving on next year.
Speaking of memories, there is a saying that was given time and time again throughout the season from Coach Naughter that resonated most.
“In the heat of the moment, when there are so many nerves and external factors that try to mess with your game you just have to remember that you are just soccer players playing soccer,” Martin said.
Most of the members on the team have been playing this game since they were little and sometimes they lose track of who they are. Needless to say, that goes for all of us but we all need to remember that if you believe in yourself nothing can get in your way.
The women’s soccer team has learned a lot from this past year. Most of all they learned what it takes to be a great team.
“The best thing to take away from this season is the fact that we are all here for a reason,” Denovellis said.