LIVINGSTON, NJ – Junior forward Ilana Bier scored the only goal of the game at the 2:14 mark of the second half to lead the no. 7 ranked Livingston Lady Lancers past Kearney 1-0 in the semi-finals of the NJSIAA North 1, Group 4 Tournament on Monday afternoon at Livingston High School.
The second half was dominated by Livingston in almost every aspect of the game as they outshot the opposition 12 to 1 in the final 40 minutes of play. Bier was able to connect on the first shot for Livingston coming out of the halftime gate.
Clara Scher footed a loose ball near the top of the box that she sent toward the Nutley goal. Bier collected the ball just outside the six and fired a shot into the back right corner of the cage to give her team a 1-0 advantage.
“We just kept pressuring forward and I had the opportunity and I just took it,” Bier commented about her game winning goal. “We were all taking shots and I just followed one in,” she added.
Livingston had several opportunities to extend their lead after that play. Sophomore Sabrina Flores had a tremendous opportunity from right in front of the Kearney net, but her attempt sailed just over the net. Then later in the game, Sabrina and her sister Monica had two quality shots in succession that were both stopped by Kearney goaltender Kelsey French.
Still, even though Livingston did not net another goal in the second half, the team was more than content to keep the ball out of their end of the field and away from the Kearney midfielders and forwards.
“We just played our game. We didn’t worry about what type of game it actually was. It was our field; our game and we just took it to them,” Bier told the Alternative Press.
“We really just worked on possession; made them chase us a little bit. Obviously we were more dangerous eliminating their chances,” Livingston Head Coach Paul Raiz said.
With the win, Livingston advances to the sectional final round of North 1 Group 4 tournament. They will play long time Essex County rivals no. 3 ranked Montclair High School, a team who they lost to twice this season without netting a single goal.
Even though the odds seem to be against Livingston against one of the top powerhouses in the state, Coach Raiz and his team believes they are hungry enough to overcome them in their third meeting on the year.
“Whatever happens happens. We still have the opportunity to see if we can finally break through. It’s going to be a battle I think. We just got to get that last shot; that last finish. When you get an opportunity…you got to capitalize on it,” Coach Raiz said.
“This one’s ours. We’re going to come in with everything we have. We want it more,” Bier said emphatically about the matchup against
That game will take this Thursday in Montclair at a time to be announced.
Kearney brought some fire into the first half that seemed to catch Livingston by surprise a little bit.
Stefanie Gomes had two chances to score the game’s first goal, but Livingston freshman goaltender Nicole LaRusso made a couple of diving stops on those plays. LaRusso also stopped a high shot on goal from Kearney’s Brianne Nieto.
LaRusso replaced starting goaltender Samantha Rothenberger after she was injured during warm ups before the game.
The best chance for Livingston in the first half came when Scher fed Sabrina Flores a lead ball in the Kearney box that she fired just over the cross bar.
Livingston improves to 19-2-1 on their season with Monday afternoon’s win.