Despite not playing up to their own golden standards, the Montclair State University women’s soccer remains undefeated with a hard-earned and gritty 1-0 victory over Vassar College and the Brewers.
With the win, the Red Hawks are now 4-0-0 on the season, 10-4-2 all-time against Vassar, and look unstoppable to start the 2022 campaign.
The winning and lone goal of the match came from senior forward Kimberly Campbell, who in the 11th minute received a pass at the near post from freshman forward Kylie Prendergast and barely got enough power on it as it just got through the goalkeeper’s hands and into the back of the net for her first goal of the season.
“It was kind of just a ball that got loose, [Prendergast] worked her butt off to get there,” Campbell said. “And I just got into the box, just wanted to make sure we overloaded it and had people in the box and I got there and scored, it was great.”
In what is still a very young season, the Red Hawks have already been testing their limits. The team played its first three games of the season in a span of four days, two of them all the way in Massachusetts, and Campbell noted how difficult it was to get up for Vassar.
“I think it was a really hard-fought game,” Campbell said. “We came off of a weekend playing three games in four days so it was really difficult but we came out, worked really hard, kept the energy up the whole time so it was a really good game.”
Registering her first assist in her Red Hawk career was Prendergast, who has been unbelievable so far this season. The freshman also scored the game-winning goal against Endicott College and she credits her teammates for making it very easy to come in right away and contribute.
“I knew just coming in I wanted to make an impact as soon as possible,” Prendergast said. “And just coming into the team, they have made it as easy as possible to just blend in. All of the seniors are so welcoming, they’re not intimidating at all. It was just great team chemistry and I think that’s the best thing to have for success.”
Although the game was never really wide open or filled with great chances, Montclair State dictated the pace of the match and because of some great defensive play from players like sophomore Emmi DeNovellis, graduate student Kylinn Kraemer and senior Kerri Driscoll, the Red Hawks never seemed to be threatened.
Junior midfielder Aileen Cahill was just named New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) player of the week after tallying two goals and an assist in the team’s first three games. She was having her way throughout the game, carving up the opposition all night while consistently getting into the suitable spaces and setting her teammates up on the attack.
Although it was a rough stretch scheduling-wise to start the season, you could not tell that Montclair State was fatigued in the slightest. This team has been operating like an engine and they plan to continue to roll through the rest of the competition.
Head Coach Patrick Naughter sees something different in this year’s Red Hawks.
“This group is special, this group is different,” Naughter said. “We said before the game that we are not good because we are 3-0 before the game, now 4-0, we are 4-0 because we are good. And because of the way we play and work.”
The Montclair State women’s soccer team is the real deal so far. Next up for the Red Hawks to see if the winning streak stays alive is a trip to Pennsylvania for a match against Ursinus College on Sept. 10.