BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Gov. Livingston girls soccer suffered their second loss in a row on Thursday, dropping a 2-0 contest to Scotch Plains at GL. It was a reversal of fortune for the Lady Highlanders, who beat their rival, 2-0, during their last meeting in the 2013 season.
Tori Baliatco broke through the GL defense early in the first half of play, driving a low shot to the back of the net for the 1-0 Raider lead.
Junior Lindsay DiStaso made breakaway attempts for GL -- moving and crossing the ball -- but the receiving offense was denied by the Raiders' defense, as they beat GL to the ball.
"We played extremely well, for the most part," said Coach Mike Roof. "We had plenty of chances," adding, "For some reason, when we face elite competition, we lack that cutting edge in the last 30 yards." Seniors Isabella Bjorkeson and Julia Stirpe attempted to set up plays throughout. The play went back and forth with missed opportunities in front of the goal.
Among her five saves, goalie Olivia Emanuel stopped Baliatco's penalty stroke in the second half to keep GL's chances alive. However, Scotch Plains immediately secured their insurance goal from a corner kick, catching the GL defense on a deflection.
"We tried to clear it and we couldn't get it out," said Emanuel. "We tried to get it out of the net, it was unfortunate." Emanuel commended her defensive line with the many offside penalties called against Scotch Plains.
Late in the game, DiStaso rallied with outside shot attempts. "She needs to do that more often," said Roof. "It's essential, she needs to shoot more -- that creates opportunities for us."
Roof has seen a pattern in the two tougher match-ups the Lady Highlanders have faced this week [Westfield and Scotch Plains]. "Execution and pressure" --little mistakes are enough to set them apart in this level of competition.
"The kids came ready to play," said Scotch Plains coach Kevin Ewing. "Gov. Livingston always has a good team -- Coach Roof does a great job."
Gov. Livingston will play Cranford at home on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Scotch Plains will play Elizabeth on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 4 p.m.