CHATHAM, NJ - It's going to get a lot harder from here on out. That was the message Chatham girls soccer coach Gary Adair delivered to his undefeated team after it rallied to defeat Mendham, 2-1, on Friday on "Senior Day" at rainy Haas Field.
"We've got a little bit of a target on our back (by being undefeated)," Adair said. "Mendham did their homework, they were ready for us and they competed."
Chatham (4-0) knocked Mendham (3-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten by erasing a 1-0 halftime deficit on goals by junior midfielder Kayleigh Coughlin and senior defender Olivia Garman. Senior Elizabeth Droner set up the Coughlin goal and her younger sister, Paige Droner, sent the ball to Garman for the winning tally.
"We talked about it at halftime that it wasn't going to be a striker that scores goals in this game because of the way they played," Adair said. "They dropped their defense deep and made it very difficult for our forwards to do what they've been doing so far."
The Cougars won it with a play that began with a restart just outside the right corner of the penalty area in the 70th minute. Sophomore midfielder Paige Droner took the kick and banged it into a Mendham wall of players. The ball bounced straight back to Droner, who lifted a first-time volley with her left foot into the box. When the ball dropped out of a crowd, Garman was there to strike it inside the near post for the winning goal (see below).
Maia Horowitz, Kayleigh Coughlin, Olivia Garman and Cate Gallagher talk about the win
Mendham had taken a 1-0 lead in the third minute on a well-struck direct kick off the foot of Erin Duffy.
Chatham tied the score at 1-1 in the 55th minute when Elizabeth Droner lifted the ball into the box. Senior Maia Horowitz was running to goal and knocked the ball loose as the Mendham goalie tried to secure the ball out of the air. Coughlin was there to knock it home (see video below).
COUGAR NOTES: Senior goalie Cate Gallagher came up with seven saves in winning her first start ... the Cougars are averaging three goals per game, having outscored their opposition 12 to 5 ... Seven different players have scored so far for Chatham, led by sophomore Ashley Kiernan (4 goals, 1 assist), senior Olivia Garman (2 goals), sophomore Remmey McEnroe (2 goals), senior Elizabeth Droner (1 goal, 5 assists), freshman Leigha Matter (1 goal) and junior Audrey Van Wie (1 goal) ... senior Sophie Straka has three assists ... Chatham plays host to Parsippany Hills (3-0-1) 4 p.m. Friday at Haas Field.