Sports

Chatham Girls Soccer Falls 1-0 to Columbia Despite Late Push

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Chatham central defender Olivia Robertson runs to the ball Credits: Matthew Ambrose
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Chatham goalie Olivia Mathern punts the ball Credits: TAP Chatham
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CHATHAM, NJ - A bevy of chances came the Lady Cougars’ way in the final minutes, but Chatham could never find the back of the net as they fell 1-0 to Columbia at Haas Field on Thursday.

The first half of the match was dominated by Chatham, however, neither side was able to break the scoreless battle. Chatham controlled possession for the vast majority of the first 40 minutes, however, it was unable to convert those possessions into any quality chances.

“I just feel like we didn’t take care of the simple things,” Chatham coach Gary Adair said. “It goes back a little bit to that Morristown game. It’s about being reactive and waiting for players to get on the ball before we do anything.”

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Things changed in the second half for Columbia, as it suddenly had the field tilted in its favor. After
playing with their backs up against the wall for most of the first half, Columbia came out guns blazing in
the second half, matching Chatham’s first-half effort by dominating second-half possession.

“It took us a while to get going,” Adair said. “We were just waiting for them to do something before we reacted.”

Nothing found the back of the net for either side until the 65th minute when Columbia was awarded a
free kick near the left sideline, about 25 yards away from Chatham goalkeeper Olivia Mathern. Columbia’s Naomi Joseph fired in the goal directly off the free kick to give Columbia the 1-0 lead.

“It was a good goal, but it only happens when we let it happen,” Adair said.

Soon after Chatham found itself down, something clicked, and the Lady Cougars snapped out of the funk
they were in and began finding lucrative scoring chances. The first of which came from Sophia Reed,
who had a breakaway in the 68th minute but fired the shot high over the crossbar. This would not be the
end of the onslaught of chances Chatham developed down the stretch.

Things got crazy in the final 10 minutes, as Chatham had three point-blank scoring chances, however,
none of them found the back of the net. In the 81st minute, Jen Olnowich found herself in the box just yards from the goal with just the goalkeeper in front of her, but she shot the ball wide left. Moments
later, Chatham sent a ball in that glanced off the crossbar and straight down off the goal line and into
the arms of Columbia goalkeeper Hannah Williams.

Adair hopes that the burst his team had at the end of the match will only serve as momentum moving forward.

“It’s a wake-up call,” the coach said. “I’m hoping it’s the little bit of a jolt that we need going into next week and it can fire us up a little bit more when Monday comes around.”

That game, 2 p.m. Monday, will be another home game for Chatham when it takes on West Windsor- Plainsboro North in the opening round of the state tournament.

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