Sports

DiStaso Sends Gov. Livingston Girls Soccer to Title Game with OT Golden Goal, 3-2

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Gov. Livingston girls soccer win in OT thriller to advance to finals. Credits: Mike Emanuel
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Credits: Mike Emanuel
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Credits: Mike Emanuel
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Credits: Mike Emanuel
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Credits: Mike Emanuel
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Credits: Mike Emanuel
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Credits: Mike Emanuel
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Credits: Mike Emanuel
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Lindsay winning goal vs. Robbinsville. Credits: Joe Stirpe
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Julia Stirpe vs Robbinsville. Credits: Joe Stirpe
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GL victory. Credits: Joe Stirpe
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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Junior Lindsay DiStaso connected on a feed by junior Rachel Siegel in overtime to advance the No. 2 Gov. Livingston girls soccer team to the section championship game, knocking out No. 11 Robbinsville, 3-2, on Tuesday afternoon.  

"That was a great finish," said Coach Mike Roof. "Overall, I thought we were full value for our win today."

Gov. Livingston  (16-5-1) advances to the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 title match against No. 4 seed Holmdel (17-5) who defeated Bordentown, 7-1, in the semifinal round.

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DiStaso hit the back of the net, drilling past Robbinsville goalie Morgan Psiuk off a pass by senior Julia Stirpe in the seventh minute of play giving GL the early lead.

GL would continue to dominate on both sides of the field. Junior Alice Caballero, senior Sara Dilly and junior Logan Boenning would out hustle and box out Robinnsville in front of goalie Olivia Emanuel who recorded 3 saves.. 

With time to work the ball up the field -- the Lady Highlanders made multiple shot attempts -- but would go into break with a single goal lead.

Senior Isabella Bjorkeson scored off a pass by Stirpe to double their lead in the second half.

The Ravens quickly cut their deficit in half when Kellie Hoffman scored on a rebound from a shot by Emily Langsdorf which was deflected by keeper Emanuel.

The goal caught the Lady Highlanders off guard. "It was a little bit of a shock," said Bjorkeson, "especially because we were dominating most of the game. We knew we had to keep up our pace because they weren't that far behind."

The Ravens' momentum would lift as they tried to level the game. "Robbinsville was much better in the second half than the first half," said Coach Mike Roof. 

With 44 seconds left on the clock, Nicolina Iorio headed a corner delivered by Nenagh Sheehan to send the game into OT.

Roof huddled the girls and told them what all coaches would say after giving up a two goal lead -- " I told the girls you have to get over it and get past it. You can change what happens going forward. Winners win the ball at their feet and find a way to win the game and we did that."

Both teams never let up -- fighting for every ball. 

"We stayed calm and exploited their energy, they kept going forward and we knew there would be gaps open on the end of the field," said Stirpe. "We used that to our advantage." Riley Jankowski passed the ball up to Rachel Siegel who crossed to DiStaso in the box for her second goal of the game. 

"It showed that we can get through it -- at times it might be hard -- but if we stick together as a team and work hard together, we can get through anything," said Stirpe.

"It couldn't have been better, it was the best way to end the game too," said DiStaso, talking of the celebratory "dog pile", "it made the win so much better." 

Gov. Livingston girls will face Holmdel on Friday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. at home in the NJSIAA, Central Jersey Group 2 finals. 

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