LIVINGSTON, NJ — With a senior-led defense and junior midfielder Natalie Nevins leading the offense, the West Orange girls soccer team shut out Livingston, 3-0, at Livingston High School on Thursday afternoon.
Nevins scored her fifth goal of the season on Thursday with the other two goals coming from Kaitlyn Charles and Kiara Machuca. The Mountaineers remain undefeated after tying Montclair Kimberley Academy and defeating Glen Ridge and Millburn while the Lancers fall to 3-2.
“West Orange is an excellent team,” said Livingston head coach Paul Raiz. “They are senior led; we knew last year that they didn’t graduate a lot. They’re physical, they’re aggressive, but they also play nice soccer. [Nevins] is an excellent player and they’ve got a senior-led defense and they just really took it to us and kicked our butt today.”
West Orange head coach Sean DeVore added that he thought it was "a very hard-fought contest between two very good teams."
"They kept the ball very well and when [Lauren Belcuore] ran at us, they were very dangerous," he said. "We were able to contain her and get forward and finish on our set pieces which is something we work a lot on in practice."
DeVore said the West Orange program has a lot of respect for Livingston, which he said has been "the class of the county for many years, winning county championships and a state sectional championship."
"We also know that in order for us to compete for county and section that we will very likely have to play each other again, which will be a very intense and challenging game," said DeVore.
Raiz echoed DeVore, stating that the Lancers hope to meet West Orange again in the county or the state tournament for a rematch.
In the meantime, Raiz noted that the Lancers “need to improve” and that he is confident the girls can play better than they did on Thursday.
“I think that’s one thing we learned today is that we’ve got to come out with a little more energy and passion,” he said. “I think we were a little passive out there today and I don’t think we played our best.”
West Orange returns home to take on James Caldwell a 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Livingston will see three more home games in the next week with matchups against Newark Academy, Mount Saint Mary and Millburn on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, respectively.