Montclair State University women’s soccer kicked off their season against Stockton University on March 10 in a game that ended in a 0-0 tie with a thrilling defensive battle.
This game was a rematch from last year when the Red Hawks knocked the Ospreys out of the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament in the semi-finals. However, after losing two crucial players from last season, Montclair State had a tough task on their hands.
Red Hawks head coach Patrick Naughter explains that despite being put up to the challenge, the team still gave it their all and did great for their first time back.
“I think we played very well for it being the first time out,” Naughter said. “Defensively, we didn’t allow them time and space in dangerous areas. We had most of the possession, completed a million more passes and were certainly in control of the game. Goals are always the last to come and I am confident they will.”
The scoring from former Red Hawks like Emily Beenders and Tori Rolls was missed, but Naughter, in his eleventh season, is confident that players like sophomore forward Samantha Senatore and captain junior midfielder Emily Degeyter can get going soon. Degeyter played an extremely physical game and was all over the place, including her three shots on goal.
All game the Red Hawks had possession on offense looking to score. However, Stockton’s senior goalie Jennifer Devault played flawlessly. She was helped out by star defensive back, senior Kiersten Reszkowski. The two halted any sort of shot inside the goalie box, and Montclair State was forced all game to take deep kicks.
They maintained control as their defense made a lot of great adjustments mid-game. This also was made effective as each defender and defensive midfielder had great ball control and planned out each pass. Each time the Red Hawks moved the ball, they found openings and continued to force the ball back on offense.
“I thought it was a dominant performance defensively,” Naughter said. “They are difficult to play against in that they have a funky system, some very good attacking kids and do some different things off of restarts. It required our kids to make a few adjustments as the match went on and I am really proud of their recognition and execution of those things.”
It had been 488 days since the Red Hawks last played, but they were ready to go. Senior goalie Phoebe Bledsoe did not have much to worry about as she did not let anything get past her. Her toughest threat was a late strike in the second overtime from sophomore forward Danielle Christ. The shot was just poked away by Bledsoe as it hit off the crossbar.
Montclair State was not able to get anything going in the overtimes as they could only get two accurate attempts on goal. Senior captain/midfielder Catherine Carnevale was all over the place making smart passes and utilizing efficient ball movement. Montclair State’s ability to create goal-scoring opportunities for themselves was something that Naughter was extremely happy about.
As they prepare for their next game, Naughter wants to focus on recovery as the team prepares for their upcoming duel against New Jersey City University (NJCU).
“The physical and emotional toll of last night’s game can’t be overstated,” Naughter said. “We have another game in 72 hours so it’s getting those who played a lot to rest and recover and get the kids who got limited minutes or no playing time prepped and ready to go. Every game brings with it new challenges and NJCU has the most unique field in the conference… and a very new roster.”
The women’s soccer team was able to defeat NJCU 2-1 on March 16. The Red Hawks will have another two home games against Kean University and William Paterson University later this month.