Off to a 3-2 start, the Glen Ridge High girls' soccer team has been playing against a tough schedule. And that's just the way the team, and head coach Oscar Viteri, prefer it.
The Ridgers were scheduled to be back in action on Oct. 23, when the team hosts Mount St. Dominic Academy, at 4 p.m., at Watsessing Park.
Last week, the team lost a 2-1 decision to one of the best team in the county, Montclair, 2-1, before coming back to defeat Cedar Grove, 10-0.
"I like the way we're playing," said Viteri. "We've been seeing some tremendous teams this year, and that has always helped us once the state tournament begins."
Glen Ridge has won eight straight state sectional championships. This year, with the different scheduling in place, the sectional tourney is still on the agenda, but will have a new look, with less travel.
"Our sectional will include teams from Essex, Bergen and Hudson counties," said Viteri. "There should be some good teams there."
Versus an undefeated Montclair squad, the Ridgers fell behind, 2-0, at the half, then cut the deficit in half on a goal by Olivia Hoover, which was assisted by Sydney Mansfield.
"We had plenty of opportunities to score, and that was good to see," said Viteri. "In the first half, we were more in a defensive posture, but in the second half, we opened up a little.
"We competed with a really good team, and I've always said, playing the schedule we do will only help us when it comes to the state tournament."
Olivia Carbonell played the first half in goal and recorded seven saves while Elettra Giantomenico had three saves in the second half.
"Olivia and Elettra have both done a good job in goal," said Viteri.
Versus Cedar Grove, the Ridgers took control early.
"Cedar Grove has some talented kids," said Viteri. "We were working on passes and crosses and started clicking,"
Alison Shea, Ania Prussak and Mansfield had two goals each while Siena Atkinson, Talia Reid, Hoover and Amalia Sanchez had one goal each. Hoover also had three assists, Mansfield assisted on two goals and Reid and Defne Zeybek had one assist.
"Our defense has been playing well," said Viteri. "Kaitlyn Degnan has played well at stopper and is making some good decisions. Kayla Garske is also doing an excellent job."