LIVINGSTON, NJ — After a scoreless regulation game in the semifinal round of the NJSIAA North 1, Group 4 Tournament on Monday, the Livingston girls soccer team was defeated, 4-2, in penalty kicks against Ridgewood.
Fourth-seeded Livingston and ninth-seeded Ridgewood danced back and forth throughout, working through on-and-off rain to end the regulation at 0-0. Livingston head coach Paul Raiz said he believed the Lancers had more chances than their opponent, but they “just couldn’t get that one goal” to pull ahead.
Ridgewood scored their first four penalty kicks to beat out Livingston, 4-2, and advance in the tournament.
“Our seniors played their tails off, the other girls played really hard for them and they left everything on the field,” said Raiz. “It was an exciting game, it was a well-played game and we just couldn’t get that one in the back of the net. [Ridgewood] played well, they put the pressure on us, they were physical…they kind of bent but didn’t break and we just couldn’t get that goal.”
The defeat ends the high school soccer careers of seniors Tori Belcuore, Christine Craitar, Nikki Eisen, Ally Levitt, Jocelyn McCauley, Tara McCormack, Hannah Oliveira, Ashley Reuter and Nikki Schreiber. Following Monday’s game, Raiz told all the girls, and especially the seniors, that they should feel extremely proud.
“The seniors and captains, not only have they left a legacy having won multiple championships in their four years—they’ve sacrificed their bodies, they’ve sacrificed their time and they really helped to continue the tradition,” he said. “One day they’ll come back and look at the championship banners and know they were a part of some really good teams.”
Raiz said he hoped the girls would walk away from the season with pride in the journey they made. After a rocky start to the season, when other teams began to count the Lancers out, Raiz said the girls refused to lose confidence and “didn’t second-guess themselves.”
Instead, the Lancers picked each other up and began an upward trajectory that lasted for the remainder of the season.
“It’s nice when you have a great season on the field like last year, but it’s sometimes even more special when you go through some adversity and come out the other end even better,” said Raiz. “They should be very proud and honored to put on a Livingston uniform. They did our school well.
“They’re a great group of girls: high character, high morals and terrific soccer players. They have nothing to hand their heads about.”
The Lancers end their rollercoaster season at 9-6-4.
This was the second-consecutive matchup that ended in penalty kicks for the Livingston girls soccer team. Following a 1-1 tie against West Orange in the quarterfinals last week, the Lancers defeated the Mountaineers, 4-1, in penalty kicks.
To read about the beginnings of the Lancers’ state tournament journey, click on the links below: