GLEN RIDGE, NJ--While the Glen Ridge girls' soccer team earned a berth in the NJSIAA, North 2, Section 1 semifinals for the tenth straight year, the Ridgers' head coach, Oscar Viteri, was far from pleased with his team's performance.
Glen Ridge improved to 13-7 on the season and won for the 12th time in the last 13 games by defeating Dayton High, of Springfield, 2-1, on Oct. 31, at Watsessing Park. The Ridgers will take on the winner of the Nov. 1 game between Delaware Valley and top-seeded Whippany Park, in the sectional semi, on Nov. 4. If Delaware Valley won, the game would be at Watsessing Park while a Whippany Park victory means the Ridgers will take a rare road trip in the sectional round.
Glen Ridge is seeking an eighth straight sectional championship, but Viteri warned his team that the big games will mean a more concerted effort.
"We have to play better," said Viteri. "We didn't play well against Dayton. We're up 2-0 late in the game, they score a goal and fortunately, the time ran out. Assuming Whippany Park won against Delaware Valley, we'll be heading to a place that will have a huge crowd on hand. They're going to be fired up to play us. We need to play with more intensity. We have a good bunch of players, they work hard, but we have to amp it up now. This is the state tournament."
Glen Ridge opened a 2-0 lead early in the game. Tara Feenaghty's perfect corner kick was converted into a goal by Ania Prussak. Three minutes later, the Ridgers got a big boost when Sydney Mansfield, a key player for the team who has missed a good deal of the season with a knee injury, entered the game and quickly scored, off a pass from Madison Grady.
"It's great having Sydney back in the lineup," said Viteri pf Mansfield, who is a junior. "She's been playing a little more in each game and today, she saw a lot of action. That was her first goal of the season. She can be a big part of what we hope to accomplish this season."
Glen Ridge had a number of good scoring opportunities, but were unable to convert. Dayton cut the lead in half in the closing minute of the game, on a direct free kick from about 30 yards out.
Glen Ridge goalie Olivia Carbonell had another solid game, with five recorded saves, as well as some aggressive plays in front of the net which negated possible scoring opportunities for Dayton.
The Ridgers are usually the top seed in the section, based on its Super Essex Conference schedule, but this year, it was seeded fourth, mainly because of its 1-6 start.
"We haven't been on the road, much, in the sectionals, during the last 10 years," said Viteri. "But we could be at Whippany Park, and that will be a crazy setting. We'll need a few good days of practice to prepare."
The Glen Ridge boys' soccer team won its first round game, over Warren Tech, on Oct. 29, at Watessing Park.
The top-seeded Ridgers were scheduled to host Hoboken in the quarterfinals, on Nov 1, also at Watsessing. As the long as the Ridgers keep winning, the team will be home throughout the sectionals.
Glen Ridge improved to 8-7-1 with the win over Warren Tech, as Ty Rank recorded a hat trick and Drew Hinter finished with two assists.
"We're playing well," said head coach Austin Alvarado. "The kids are working hard. It's been a team effort. We worked hard for the top seed in the section. I believe that playing the schedule we have during the season will help us in the state tournament. In no way are we taking anything for granted, but I'd like to think that we are prepared for a good run in the sectionals."