CRANFORD - Olivia Russomanno scored two goals and assisted one to help power fourth-seeded Cranford past fifth-seeded Jackson Liberty, 7-0, in the quarterfinal round of the Central East D tournament, on Wednesday.
"With how crazy of a year it's been, we're all very excited to have the opportunity to keep going in the state tournament," said Russomanno.
Due to a positive COVID-19 test at Cranford High School announced Tuesday night, classes went remote on Wednesday, putting the game with Jackson Liberty into question. Following contact tracing, the whole Cranford girls soccer team was cleared to play. Along with the delayed start to the shortened season, the Cougars have had their Union County Championship game canceled, and have lost players for games due to mandatory quarantine orders. Head coach Andrew Gagliardo said he feared the season being shutdown each day and hopes the state tournament will go uninterrupted.
"Every day is a breath of relief," said Gagliardo. "I wake up every day, look around and say 'Is today the day? Is today the day?' We're thankful to be out here every day."
Russomanno did all of her damage in the first-half. She gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute off a cross from Riley Korzeneski, and would add her second goal in the 37th minute. Korzeneski, Lily Young, and Kirsten Williams each added a goal in the first to give Cranford a 5-0 halftime lead.
"We really connected well," said Korzeneski. "We've been working to go outside and we finally did that today and it worked well for us."
The Cougars scored two more early goals in the second-half by Kristina Lynch and Abby Ahern before getting some passing work in and chewing the rest of the clock.
Amanda Vath and Grace Kallensee each played a half in net for Cranford to pitch the shutout.
The Cougars will go on the road as they take on top-seeded Colts Neck on Friday in the semifinals, tentatively set for 2 p.m.
Vinny's Pizza & Pasta Player of the Game: Olivia Russomanno
With her two goals and one assist Wednesday, Russomanno has a team-high nine goals along with three assists on the year. She also has two hat tricks this season (Governor Livingston and Immaculate Heart).
"With the opportunities I'm given, a lot of my goals come when we all play well together, said Russomanno. "When we're all here and playing well, that's when we score."