Just five months after Montclair State University women’s soccer took home the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) championship trophy after defeating the Rutgers-Camden Raptors, the two met again on Sept. 18.
This matchup lived up to the expectations, as it took all of regulation and just one minute of overtime to find a winner. Senior forward Zoë Steck netted a goal to give the Red Hawks a 1-0 victory at MSU Soccer Park.
Going back to last year, the Red Hawks and Scarlet Raptors squared off twice, tying in the regular season, going all of regulation and overtime. In the finals, the Red Hawks won 1-0. It was both defenses stepping up until one or the other would break through.
That is exactly what happened this time around. Montclair State’s defense, however, was just a little bit better. They played flawlessly, only allowing one shot, which was a penalty kick courtesy of a handball.
Leading the way on that end was senior defender Laura Noseworthy, who was the only Red Hawk to play the entirety of the game on Saturday. While Noseworthy did what she could on defense, she wasn’t going to be the one to score in this game. However, she had faith in her teammates to get the win.
“Especially when I am getting tired, it is important for me and [Lexington Wolf] and whoever else to be communicating and keeping the energy up,” Noseworthy said. “When it’s 0-0 like that, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page. Everyone was doing so great during the game [and] it’s important to keep good vibes throughout.”
For her solid performance this weekend, Noseworthy was named NJAC Defensive Player Of The Week. She lead a defense that included herself, junior Kerri Driscoll, senior Lexington Wolf, senior Catherine Carnevale, senior Emily DeGeyter and junior Mackenzie Cangro, who stepped up in a big effort.
At the end of regulation, the Red Hawks’ offense showed its dominance as they finished with 18 shots — 17 more than the Scarlet Raptors. Early in the first half, Steck had an opportunity as well as sophomore Lauren Ernst in the second half. The team knew it would be any moment before they would make the first strike.
That came just 58 seconds into overtime. The golden goal was set up by a perfect pass from junior Paige Yocum. Receiving the pass and getting the game-winner would be Steck. This was Steck’s fourth straight game with a goal.
Head coach Patrick Naughter and the rest of the coaching staff were pleased with the team’s game plan in overtime.
“Tara [Lambert] won possession for us there, kicks it to Aileen [Cahill], she got on it and [passes the ball] to Paige,” Naughter said, recounting the moments leading up to the goal. “She looks up and Zoë cuts through. The pass was perfect and [Zoë] just got her touch on it.”
This win would halt any more losses from the Red Hawks after coming off a tough 2-1 loss to DeSales University on Sept. 15. This win, however, moves them to 1-0 in the conference as six of their next seven games will be NJAC contests.
Naughter was aware of his team’s health coming in as the Red Hawks have been dealing with some injuries throughout the season, but they still managed to come out with great intensity.
“Effort was great, energy was great,” Naughter said. “We had kids playing all over the place. I’m just so happy for these kids.”
Montclair State is now 23-0-4 all-time series against the Scarlet Raptors and in their entire history, the Red Hawks never once trailed.
After a matchup with Farmingdale State College, the Red Hawks will host New Jersey City University (NJCU) on Sept. 25. Montclair State is looking hot as ever after a couple of lineup adjustments and they are primed for an upcoming winning streak.