On the vast turf of the Montclair State University soccer field, a vital matchup against the Red Hawks women’s soccer team and the Rutgers-Camden Scarlet Raptors was held on Saturday, Sept. 25.
The team was coming into this matchup with a respectable 4-2-1 record, while Rutgers-Camden maintained a 0-5 record, being in dire need for an important victory.
Montclair State knew that the Scarlet Raptors needed this win, therefore this would be an extremely difficult match due to Rutgers-Camden’s back against the wall. The most important part about playing a desperate team like Rutgers-Camden is not to allow a quick, explosive start in the beginning of the game.
The coaching staff for the Red Hawks knew a bottling-up defensive tactic would spell perfection against Rutgers-Camden.
“Rutgers-Camden was going to start fast and aggressive and we needed to be aggressive as well [and as] often and early defensively in order to stop them,” Patrick Naughter, the Montclair State women’s soccer head coach, said.
At 1 p.m., the ball was kicked off and Rutgers-Camden pulled their offensive threats across center field to create chances on the Montclair State sophomore goalkeeper, Lindsay Freewalt. At the beginning of the matinee, offensive talents for the Scarlet Raptors such as their captain, sophomore defender Breana Winder, were flowing with passes across and perfect chemistry.
However, the defense of the Red Hawks were standing and acting like a fortress. Defenders, such as sophomore Laura Noseworthy and freshman Samantha Senatore, visibly blocked shots and sent them to center field with great velocity, allowing no shots on Freewalt.
This set up the attackers for Montclair State such as junior Kaitlyn Scrivanich and senior captain Emily Beenders. The two were able to attack the fatigued defense of Rutgers-Camden and were able to split across the field with great speed and dexterity, including some shots on goal.
The Scarlet Raptors sophomore goaltender Natalie Eberhardt was able to stand to the task and shut down the four shots by Montclair State, despite their great quality. The first half went scoreless.
Despite the goose eggs on the scoreboard, coach Naughter realized that his team needed to stick to the playbook by passing the ball through open lanes, avoiding costly turnovers and relying on their defense to create turnovers.
“I knew that we had to stick to the game plan and we would be fine,” Naughter said.
The Red Hawks would be solid when they finally scored a goal, seven minutes into the second half. Sophomore midfielder Lindsay Bathmann broke the ice with a brilliantly aimed shot past the wickets of the Eberhardt, fed by a brilliant pass by junior forward Maddie Musico. Two minutes later, the Red Hawks scored a well-timed goal by Senatore off of a pass by Beenders.
Another peculiar incident happened three minutes later when a dangerous tackle occurred near midfield and Scarlet Raptor sophomore midfielder Amanda Giordano was flagged with a yellow card, clamping further pressure on Rutgers-Camden. The final nail in the coffin was a heat-seeking missile of a shot fired off the foot of Scrivanich, with assists from sophomore midfielder Emily DeGeyter and freshman forward Tori Rolls in minute 62.
Freewalt did her job along with the backs in front of her completing a sensational shutout and slamming the door on any whispers of mediocrity around this team. The rumors are true, the Lady Red Hawks soccer team is for real.