BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In a matchup of two of the best girls’ varsity soccer teams in Central New Jersey, the Governor Livingston Highlanders beat the Cranford Cougars 3-1 at Memorial Field on Monday.
The victory for the Highlanders (11-3) increases their lead over West Morris (10-2-1) by one game and a game and a half over Cranford (9-2).
With the state tournament set to begin on Oct. 29, Governor Livingston head coach Mike Roof said yesterday’s win could play a factor in where the team sits in the field.
“This may have an effect in our seeding for our state tournament since we’re both in the same section, North Jersey Group 3,” Roof said. “That might change a little bit, if it doesn’t its not a big deal because you have to beat good teams in the state tournament, regardless of who you play. There is a very high likelihood that we might meet up again in that scenario.”
Monday’s meeting went back-and-forth in the first half. Governor Livingston took their first lead in the 15th minute when sophomore Isabella Bjorkeson put a header past the Cranford keeper off a free kick.
Cranford tied the game in the 29th minute when Mairead McKeary dribbled past the Governor Livingston goalkeeper and into an open net.
The Highlanders responded two minutes later when sophomore Julia Stirpe drove past the Cougar’s goalie and found an open net of her own.
Leading 2-1 in the second half, Jenn French put the Highlanders up two goals when the Cranford goalie failed to handle an indirect kick from 20 yards out. The ball was initially stopped, but squirted out of the keeper’s hands and over the goal line.
“That goal to stretch our lead to two goals, you can serve that ball in that situation, but I figured with the way the field was, take a shot on goal, see what happens," Roof said. "Fortunately for us it went in.”
Governor Livingston resorted to their defense to seal the win. The Cougar’s had six scoring chances down two goals and failed to score.
“The last 20 minutes we were on our back foot,” Roof said. “(Cranford) had most of the chances. If we just had a little bit more possession, not that we needed a fourth goal, but we might have had a chance to get one.”