HOLMDEL, NJ – The Gov. Livingston girls’ soccer team had visions of winning a state title last year, until a meeting with Holmdel in the Central Jersey, Group 2 title game turned those dreams into nightmares.
On Monday, in the same tournament’s semifinal match, Holmdel continued to be a thorn in the Highlanders’ side, as the Hornets beat Gov. Livingston, 3-0, to advance to the section final.
Holmdel’s Hannah Lee scored twice, including the game’s first in the 23rd minute, to send Gov. Livingston home prematurely in the state tournament.
Gov. Livingston head coach Mike Roof said the second straight loss to Holmdel is a disappointment.
“It's what I tried to express to the girls. It's how you handle the moment and how do you handle yourself on the field in situations when you’re put under pressure,” Roof said. “We took the play to them in the first 15 or 20 minutes of the first half, large portions of the first half we took the play to them. You have to take your chances and we didn't do that.”
Gov. Livingston had ample opportunities throughout the game, controlling most of the play but was not able to convert.
Trailing 1-0 late in the first half, Gov. Livingston appeared to score the equalizer but the assistant referee waved off the goal for an offsides. The Highlanders followed the chance with another opportunity off the foot of Lindsay DiStaso but Holmdel goalkeeper Mattie Milkowski blocked the shot wide of the goal to hold onto the halftime lead.
“If she stays onside, its an equalizer and a different game,” Roof said. “We had enough opportunities generated in the first half alone that we should have done better with. It would have changed the flow of the game. It would have changed the confidence levels of our players and would have put them on their back foot a little bit more then they did.”
While the Highlanders controlled the first half, it was almost the exact opposite in the second, as Holmdel pressured GL right from the half’s opening kick. Less than four minutes into the second, Lee scored her second goal of the game, which all but sealed the Hornets’ second straight trip to the section final.
“We could have done things differently,” Roof said. “We could have done better. I told the kids, I don’t need you to play out of your mind. I need you to play up to your ability and maybe a little bit more for us. I don't need you to score four goals and I don’t need you pitch a shutout. I need you to do what you customarily do for us.”
The defeat ends Gov. Livingston’s season with a final record of 9-11.