WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - Wood-Ridge senior Natalie Cala scored to record the first goal at the new Wood-Ridge Athletic Complex but it was not enough, as the Lady Blue Devils dropped a 3-2 decision to Hasbrouck Heights in a NJIC Division 2 girls soccer game on Tuesday afternoon.
Cala scored approximately 10 minutes into the game to give Wood-Ridge the early 1-0 lead. Hasbrouck Heights tied the game 10 minutes later, on a goal from Paige McGuire to tie the score 1-1.
Ella Reyngoudt gave Hasbrouck Heights a 2-1 lead 16:42 into the second half. Lexi Samperi gave Hasbrouck Heights an insurance goal on a pass from McGuire at the 39.04 mark.
The goal would prove useful, as Cala scored her second goal at 40:17, to cut the lead to one. But time ran out, and the Lady Aviators came away with the victory.
The Lady Aviators improved to 5-1 on the season., while Wood-Ridge falls to 2-3.
It was the inaugural game at the borough's new soccer facility. Lights, spectator seating, and a concession stand has yet to be installed. Two baseball fields, one recreation and high school, are still under construction.
"We are truly honored to be the first team to play at the Wood-Ridge Athletic Complex (WRAC). The facility is beautiful and when completed will be one of the finest in the state," said Jerry Cala, Wood-Ridge girls head coach. "Wood-Ridge High School Girls Soccer appreciates and is beyond thankful to Mayor Sarlo and the town council for all of their support. This new complex is a very big reminder just how committed the Mayor and his administration are to the sport of soccer. High School Soccer as well as our recreation and travel programs are lucky to receive the support we get from our local officials."
"Every time I step onto this field, I have to rub my eyes. It is a dream come true. I feel like a kid again on Christmas morning getting that Star Wars toy that was on my Christmas list," continued Cala. "The girls are so excited, and they could not be happier. Most of my Seniors have played soccer in town since kindergarten. It is nice for them to see just how much soccer has grown in Wood-Ridge."
"Today was a hug day for Wood-Ridge soccer and girls soccer," said Marc Sinclair, Athletic Director. "The town has always supported athletics and now with the facility that we have, this is going to take our program to the next level."
Wood-Ridge's girls and boys soccer teams have split time between the grass of Pomponio Field in Moonachie and the turf of Donna Ricker Field behind the high school. Sinclair noted that Pomponio "has served us well. "
"To have a place to call our own is huge for our program," he added.
Sinclair thanked the Wood-Ridge and Hasbrouck Heights fans for understanding the limitations of parking and seating.
"When our Athletic Director, Mr. SInclair was given the green light to schedule a game at the WRAC, he asked me 'Who do you want to play the first game against?' Without hesitation, I said Hasbrouck Heights," explained Cala. "They are a division opponent and have a long storied history of success. They are the program we aspire to be."
"When I took over the program four years ago, I said this is the program we want to emulate. They have sustained success and never rebuild, they reload. They have set the standard for girls soccer in southern Bergen County," said Cala. "Coach Fantalvo has continued this since taking over the program. He has and does an amazing job."
Today, I was very proud of the effort that my girls showed for 80 minutes. We showed a lot of heart and fight and most importantly, character," said Cala. "We came out on the losing end, but we will learn from this loss. We have a lot of soccer left this year and a lot to play for. Tomorrow, we have practice at 300 pm and will focus on our next match against Lodi, Thursday night."
Wood-Ridge boys soccer will play their game at WRAC Friday afternoon against Manchester Regional High School.