DENVILLE, NJ - In a night game under the lights at Denville’s Gardner Field, a roaring crowd cheered on the Morris Knolls girls’ soccer team. The Lady Golden Eagles took on district rival Morris Hills in a 6 p.m. matchup to kick off their 2015 season.  

Within the first three minutes of the game Morris Knolls capitalized, scoring an early goal to go up, 1-0. Senior Corrine Bowe scored the goal, assisted by her twin sister, Kristen Bowe.

Hills came back with a vengeance, Adrianna Diaz scoring on a play to tie the game up 1-1 during minute 18. At the half, the game was still tied, 1-1.

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As the whistle blew for the start of the second half, the Lady Golden Eagles got back to work. Knolls junior Romina Dichio scored to give Knolls a 2-1 lead. "It changed the pace and intensity of the game. We started to play really hard after that goal." Dichio said during a substitution. 

Late in the second half of the game, with Knolls hanging on to the one goal lead, senior goalkeeper Giaci Vitolo was faced with a penalty kick situation from point blank range.

"It stinks to be the one at the net, but you have to be an excellent goalkeeper to win those shots.” said Vitolo.

Hills took advantage of the golden opportunity, scoring to even the game at 2-2 with just over three minutes to play in regulation.

Vitolo made a valiant effort to block the penalty kick, but the situation was just too much of an advantage for the offensive side. Vitolo stated, “I had a strategy to go more towards one side of the net, but what can you do. We played a good game."

Morris Knolls head coach Steph Zdanowicz noted that Vitolo had a standout game, saving 10 shots on goal, some harder to save then others: "Giaci Vitolo did an incredible job. We had some girls come off the bench and step it up. Our defense played a great game."

As the game ultimately ended with a double overtime tie, Zdanowicz reflected on the game.

"I thought second half we had the momentum and started competing harder," Zdanowicz said. "In the overtime, we took it to them, I was proud of the girls. We're not happy with a tie at all, but it's a nice step in the direction that we want to go."

Looking ahead to the season, Zdanowicz is hoping to build teamwork and ultimately see his troops play to the best of their ability. 

Zdanowicz concluded by saying, "Our goal this season is to develop as a team and play as a unit. Coming together is the beginning and working together is progress. We're just progressing and eventually I would like us to play the game of soccer the way we're capable of." 

Knolls next game is a battle at home against Randolph on Friday Sept. 11. Game time is set for 4:00 p.m. on Caruso Stadium's turf field at Morris Knolls.