WEST ORANGE, NJ - Livingston head coach Paul Raiz has built a perennial powerhouse during his tenure as the Lady Lancer mentor. Season in and season out, Livingston is always a top program in Essex County and for the past five years a top 10 team in the state.
Currently, the Lady Lancers are No. 8 team in N.J. and the No. 2 team in Essex County. However, Livingston earned the overall top seed in the prestigious Essex County Tournament that begins Saturday.
Livingston continues to play smart and fundamental soccer as they try to claim the county championship; a game which they have lost to Montclair the previous two seasons.
On Wednesday, Livingston traveled to West Orange and knocked off the Mountaineers 3-0.
Erica Dippold started off the scoring in the fourth minute when she beat West Orange keeper Illissa Blackshear and gave the Lancers a 1-0 lead. Minutes later, six to be exact, Jordy Bonvini struck the cross bar and the ball rolled into the back of the net.
Within the first ten minutes, Livingston had two shots on goal and two goals.
“We want to score early,” Livingston defender Kylie McLaughlin said. “Score early and often and hold a lead is how we are going to have to play with the upcoming county and state tournament.”
The Lady Lancers increased the lead to 3-0 in the 16th minute as Kristine Kelly crossed the ball to Annie Werner who scored from 10-yards out. West Orange didn’t register a shot on goal until the 20th minute.
The Lady Lancers controlled much of the possession and outshot West Orange nine to one in the first half.
Livingston’s dominance continued into the second half, but they could not add to their lead. They continued to pepper Blackshear in goal, but she made save after save keeping her Mountaineers in the game.
However, Livingston’s defense, anchored by McLaughlin and Carly Swenson, was too formidable for West Orange’s forwards to overcome.
Livingston outshot West Orange 18 to five for the game, but Blackshear had 15 saves for the Mountaineers.
“We want to continue to play smart and scrappy soccer,” McLaughlin said. “Our goals of conference, county and state titles have remained the same throughout the season.”