NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ- The Governor Livingston Highlanders girls varsity soccer team took to the road to continue their success of the early point of the season against their crosstown rivals, the New Providence Pioneers.
The Lady Highlanders took an early lead on a goal from sophomore Samantha Erickson at 19:14 of the first half. The Highlanders pressured the Pioneers on several chances throughout the first half but couldn’t quite add to their early lead.
The Lady Highlanders had a four-goal outburst in the second half, receiving two goals apiece from senior Emily Pires and freshman Allie Post, en route to a 5-0 win over the Pioneers, Thursday afternoon in New Providence. Kelsey DiStaso had two assists, Allie Sciacchitano and Catalina Abusada each had an assist and Goalkeeper Sarah Foy made four saves for Gov. Livingston.
As the second half began, New Providence pressured right off the first whistle. After a good chance was defended and played out of bounds, a free kick changed the momentum, but the ball went off a post, and the score remained 1-0 Highlanders.
“Even when we were up 1-0, I knew they were going to threaten us in certain situations,” Governor Livingston head coach Mike Roof said.
Right after that, New Providence took a corner kick that deflected with a rush up the field -- freshman Allie Post raced up the field with the ball. With New Providence senior goaltender Erin Lamanna getting set to try and play it, Pires beat her and cashed in, making the game 2-0 at 3:53 of the second half.
“It all starts with our defense. We have really good defense,” Post said. “[The defense] keeps possession and they feed it to the [midfielders]. If we keep possessions central, we’re able to get possession and play it wide and get balls in from all around the field.”
A whistle in the Governor Livingston net area led to a New Providence penalty kick, with senior Julianna DeGeorge stepping up with a chance to get her team on the board. DeGeorge’s shot on net went high and out of play, with Governor Livingston maintaining their 2-0 lead.
“We had some good depth in the back with our back four,” Roof said. “Once we got that second goal, we were able to play a lot looser. It was all about playing a little quicker than we saw at times in the first half. It was taking the extra touch that slowed the game down.”
Post added another goal at 13:45 of the second half to make the game 3-0 Highlanders with Gov. Livingston in firm control.
“We were able to spring gaps, play the ball into gaps against [New Providence’s] back four. Once it was 2-0, [New Providence] really needed to take chances and they lost their shape when they did that and we took advantage of it.”
About six minutes later, Pires scored her first goal of the game, making the game 4-0 Highlanders at 20:35 of the second half. She would score her second goal of the game just 27 seconds later, making it 5-0, the final score on the night.
“We’ve all been together for a really long time and everyone worked very well together and connected our passes,” Pires said. “When you connect passes, you can just play around them.”
New Providence's 1-3-1 early record doesn't depict their play. The Pioneers are focused on moving ahead and getting back on track with later games.
“We kind of looked at it like we did a lot more things well in this game than we did poorly,” New Providence head coach Scott Murphy said. “[Governor Livingston] capitalized on their opportunities, which is what a really good team does. We’re hoping to become that good team with good opportunities when we finish them off.”
“We just have to keep working hard, maintaining our focus and hope the goals start coming in,” he added.
The Governor Livingston Highlanders (4-1) return home to play Dayton HS Saturday afternoon at 12:00 p.m.
The New Providence Pioneers (1-3-1) look to get back on track with a game on the road to play at Kent Place HS Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.