CRANFORD - For the first time this season, the Cranford High School girls soccer team has made the NJ.com weekly Top 20 Ranking.
Last week, the Cougars defeated No. 17 Union 3-1 on Tuesday, then used that momentum to knock off No. 8 Westfield 4-1 on Thursday. Cranford had dropped its past three matchups against Union, but the defeat of Westfield was even more impressive. The Blue Devils entered last Thursday with a 42-game (34-0-8) unbeaten steak, including back-to-back co-North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 Championships. Both Union and Westfield were knocked out of this week's Top 20 Ranking while Cranford now sits at No. 12.
"Today was a complete showcase of what we've been working on all season," said Cranford head coach Andrew Gagliardo last week after defeating Westfield. "In the terms of the mental attitude, the work rate, the togetherness, and the chemistry, it all just came together today. We came out on fire and handled business the way we should have."
The next goal for the Cougars is to defeat another rival, No. 14 Scotch Plains-Fanwood. Cranford's last win against the Raiders came back in 2015.
"It's Westfield, Scotch Plains(-Fanwood), and Cranford. That's usually the way things go, said Gagliardo in terms of rivals. "Westfield and Scotch Plains usually go back and forth, but Cranford has always seemed to be that third team that's kind of on the outside. Obviously the streak was huge and we wanted to end that, but we also wanted to show that we're not kidding around this year."