The Montclair State University women’s soccer team was able to bounce back from their loss against Rowan University with a clean sheet Wednesday night.
The Red Hawks shut out the Scarlet Raiders of Rutgers University-Newark with a 3-0 victory. The Red Hawks improve to 12-1-0 as the Raiders drop to 6-8-1. This marks the 23rd win over Rutgers-Newark and continues an impressive streak of not allowing a single goal in the last seven meetings with their New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) rivals.
The Red Hawk offense put up a dominant performance with 15 shots on goal and three goals. The most dominant player on the field was once again junior midfielder Aileen Cahill who scored all three goals, getting her second hat trick of the season in just three games.
“I just try to stay calm as best as I can and get on the field and pretend it’s just any other game and do what I can,” Cahill said.
With the three goals tonight, Cahill becomes the top scorer in the NJAC. Senior goalkeeper Haley Martin commented on Cahill’s achievement.
“She’s insane,” Martin said. “She’s just intense. She brings it every time she steps on the field. She’s got an amazing first touch and knows how to find the back of the net. She’s special, she’s truly special.”
Cahill wasn’t the only player who had an impressive night. Martin collected her seventh clean sheet on the season having to save only three shots on goal.
“I think it’s really exciting,” Martin said. “Just getting the clean sheet, obviously 3-0 is the best result you can get. We’re just looking to score them and keep them out of the net as best as we can.”
Head coach Patrick Naughter was impressed with the defense’s performance on Wednesday night.
“I thought the first half we were super organized, we were excellent,” Naughter said. “As it went on there in the second half, I think [Rutgers-Newark] kind of got a little bit more comfortable. [Martin] made a couple of good saves for us. She did very well dealing with those corner kicks.”
It was a nice bounce-back game for Montclair State after suffering their first loss of the season on Saturday. The Red Hawks were comfortable facing the Scarlet Raiders and successfully executing their game plan for the win.
“We just wanted to get back to being us,” Naughter said. “We knew they were gonna try to connect a lot of passes. We felt pretty comfortable that what they like to do is what we like other teams to do.”
One of the key strategies Montclair State played was forcing Rutgers-Newark out wide most of the game, making it difficult to get good shots on the net.
“Tonight we got back to defending how we usually defend,” Martin said. “Pressing in that middle third and looking to force the other team to play wide. I thought we did a good job at closing their gaps.”
The mindset going forward is to keep playing the way they have been and focus on their work ethic.
“I think if we just keep playing our game and focus on how we need to play, hopefully, we’ll get a good result doing what we need to do,” Martin said.
The Red Hawks play a tough and, not to mention, undefeated team against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in their next game. But coach Naughter is confident as it is a familiar opponent and welcomes the challenge.
“That’s why you come here, to play in those games,” Naughter said. “For me, this is the best conference in the country because we know all those guys. We recruited those guys, they recruited our guys. We have teammates playing against each other, we have best friends playing against each other. That familiarity breeds a lot of contempt and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Montclair State beat the Lions of TCNJ on Saturday, Oct.15 in Ewing, NJ. They will play William Paterson University on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at MSU Soccer Field.