BASKING RIDGE, NJ - As the rain poured down on the Ridge High School field, in Basking Ridge, the Millburn girl’s soccer team defeated Ramapo, in the NJSIAA/The Sports Authority Stores Group 3 semifinals, 1-0. Senior Katie Beimfohr powered the Millers, when she slotted a powerful shot past Ramapo’s Sarah Halejian, in the 19thminute.
“I usually strike the ball with my instep,” explained Beimfohr, “But today I just kinda hit it with my laces and it just took off.”
As the girls celebrated, Coach Andy Sones reminded his team how sweet their victory really was.
“One quick thing,” started Sones, “How does it feel to go further than any other Millburn team, ever?!”
Sones watched his team put just three shots on goal, while Ramapo posted an impressive 17 shots, including two that hit the post in the last ten minutes. The Millers came out a bit flat in the first ten minutes, but regained their composure behind the play of senior defender Tanya Sood.
“Tanya really held it down for us in the back,” said Beimfohr, “She was a rock for the entire game, but in the second half she really came through for us.”
Millburn’s squad, primarily consisting of eight key seniors and three sophomores, stopped a Ramapo attack that had outscored their opponents 77-7. A crucial component of the Millburn plan was to stop any play from developing in their third of the field, something Coach Sones made clear after the game.
“We knew from the start that Ramapo has some talented forwards,” said Sones, “To shut them down was more than an accomplishment.”
The start of the second half marked a Ramapo team poised to comeback against their unranked opponent. With ten minutes to go, Ramapo’s playmaker Jen Andresen beat two defenders and lightly tapped a ball into an open Millburn goal; luckily, senior Nikki Willens was there to clear the ball of the goal line.
Millburn started senior goalie Tori Graessie in the first half. Graessie recorded nine saves on eight shots and came up big when Andresen got loose in the 10thminute and had an opportunity to beat Graessie one on one, but Andresen failed to convert. In the second half, freshman Courtney Brosnan anchored the Millers' victory with 10 saves on seven shots.
On the field, the Beimfohr sisters played one of the best games of their high school careers. “I don’t like to choose favorites,” explained Sones, “But Katie played one of the best games of her career tonight, and I couldn’t be happier for her.”
The 2010 NJSIAA Group 3 Championship will be decided between Millburn (15-6-1) and No.11 Hopewell Valley (19-1-2) at The College of New Jersey on Saturday at 10 am.