BERKELEY HEIGHTS — Caroline Freer emerged as an offensive threat to be reckoned with last season as a freshman for the Gov. Livingston girls’ soccer team last season.
It appears little has changed this fall.
Freer rocketed a shot from 25 yards that redirected off a defender and found the net in overtime to give Gov. Livingston 2-1 victory over Westfield on Thursday. The decision capped a thrilling week for the Lady Highlanders, who had also forged a 4-0 verdict over Cranford two days earlier.
It marked the third straight victory after opening with a pair of losses for the Lady Highlanders (3-2), who appear to have found a more consistent game of late.
“Allie Post played it to me,” Freer said of her overtime tally, “and I just turned and shot. The ball hit one of their defenders and went in. We knew this week was a big one for us, and we wanted to give it our best effort. I’m always trying to improve my game, give my best effort, and be effective whenever I can.
“It’s pretty exciting. We had a very good season last year but now we’re playing in the better division and trying to get as many wins as we can. We have to keep challenging ourselves and compete to our best level.”
Against Westfield the Lady Highlanders had to regroup and rally at the half as a goal by Alyssa Martinez put them in a 1-0 deficit.
However, Freer was in position to change the momentum and did when she converted a feed from Brooke Schwarz in the second at 1-1. The Gov. Livingston defense and keeper Bryanna Mendez, who finished with six saves, finished the job.
“We won because we have such a solid defense and great goaltending,” said Freer. “They don’t always get enough credit, but they’ve been awesome.”
Against Cranford the Lady Highlanders used a pair of goals in each half to secure that victory. Allie Post, Jackie Penna, Samantha Erickson and Freer each produced a goal while holding Cranford to just two shots at Mendez.
Freer has three goals and two assists in five games while Post, a junior, leads the club with five goals and two assists. Juniors Vicky Lama and Mendez have combined to make 21 saves.
“It was a big week and we had two impressive efforts,” Gov. Livingston coach Mike Roof said. “Caroline came through with the two big goals for us against Westfield, and the win over Cranford was one of the most complete games I’ve ever seen one of our teams play in all my years coaching. Scoring four goals against any team isn’t easy and Cranford never had a legitimate scoring chance, our defense was that solid. We deserved to win.
“Some people thought we’d struggle in the upper division, but we’ve played well. We deserved every win and here we are at 3-2.”
The Lady Highlanders will travel to play at Summit on Oct. 20 before heading to Westfield for a rematch two days later.