CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham girls soccer coach Gary Adair refuses to take any credit for his team's 5-0 start to the 2019 season, but it was hard not to notice that he had a certain freshman on the field at the right time on Friday.
Cougar freshman Ashley Kiernan scored her first varsity goal in the 55th minute, sending undefeated Chatham to its fifth victory in nine days, 1-0 over Roxbury at Haas Field.
"It has nothing to do with coaching," Adair said. "We play hard and we want to win. To play five games in nine days against the quality that we played against, it shows they have a little bit of belief in themselves."
With senior co-captain Jen Olnowich sidelined and forward Sophie Straka leaving the game with an injury in the first half, it was Kiernan's time to make her mark.
"We talked to her before the game and we just said there's a reason we picked you to play on varsity," Adair said. "You've got to go out and show that. Today she was brilliant. She's been quiet, maybe a little timid early, but she's really come out of her shell today. She showed everybody she can compete."
Junior midfielder Elizabeth Droner did a lot of the work leading up to the winning goal, taking a shot from the top of the penalty area that was saved by diving Roxbury goalie Emily Honig. The ball hit off the post and Kiernan was there to slot it into the net in the 55th minute (see video below)
Kiernan, Callie Snyder and Droner talk about the win over Roxbury in the video below.
Senior goalie Callie Snyder made six saves in posting the shutout, ably protected by backs Isabelle Spagnuolo, Jessica Vespasiano and Olivia Garman and midfielder Meryn Dziemian.
"Callie played well in goal," Adair said. "She made some important catches at the right moment."
Chatham also received a high work rate from its midfield of Cleo Bley, Grace Van Sciver, Droner and Kayleigh Coughlin.
COUGAR NOTES: Chatham has produced 14 goals and allowed four in its five wins vs. Mendham, Bernards, West Morris, Columbia and Roxbury. The Cougars have posted three shutouts. Seven different players have scored goals for Chatham: Jen Olnowich and Elizabeth Droner lead the way with four goals each; Cleo Bley has two goals and Ashley Kiernan, Lizzie O'Neill, Kayleigh Coughlin and Olivia Garman have one apiece.