LIVINGSTON, NJ - The hat trick has now been completed. The Lady Lancers roll on as they have captured the conference title, the Essex County Championship and, with Friday afternoon's 3-0 win over Randolph, they are now North 1, Group 4 State Champions.
"It's crazy. I never thought we would get this far. We went for the hat trick," Schwindel said.
The Lady Lancers earned their state title victory the true Livingston way: with strong, impenetrable defense that led to quality scoring chances. Clara Scher provided the game winning goal off Schwindel's corner kick just 2:08 into the game.
"It's almost like a scramble. It's an out swinger with my right foot," Schwindel said of the designed play off the corner kick that led to the goal. "Everyone goes on the back post and meets the ball in the middle. Someone's usually there."
The Lady Lancers controlled possession for nearly the entire first half and did not allow a shot on goal from Randolph. Kristine Kelly had a nice chance to score a goal off a centering pass from Megan Kelly. However, her attempt from about five yards in front of the Randolph goal was stopped on a diving attempt by goaltender Melanie Durbin.
Schwindel had five shots on goal in the first half. Her best try came at about the five minute mark when she had an open chance to shoot at the Randolph goal. Her shot sailed just over the net, before the Lady Lancers took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The second half of Friday afternoon's contest saw the Lady Lancers continue to dominate their opponents. They broke through at the 17:22 mark, when Joanna Scotti found Schwindel down the right side of the field, near the Randolph box. The senior forward dribbled toward the center of the field and blasted a shot into the top right corner of the goal.
"The whole game I thought I was covered a lot," Schwindel said. "I got an open chance and the (Randolph) girl was away from me. I took one touch and lasered it with my left foot."
Schwindel got her second assist of the game, as she again connected with Scher to give the Lady Lancers a commanding 3-0 lead with 8:32 left in the game. Schwindel fought for a loose ball on the right side of the field and fired it toward the center of the Randolph box. Scher was running toward the ball on the play, and slid and kicked it into the back of the net.
Although the Lady Lancers' offense was in full stride in the state championship game, one could argue that their defense was the primary reason for their victory. Sophomore sweeper Carly Swenson, along with defenders Sabrina and Monica Flores, only allowed two shots on goal from Randolph.
"We preached.. that if we could score one or two goals,… than we could stop them on the other end," Lady Lancers' Head Coach Paul Raiz said. "I'm a defensive guy, but with this team it's a total team effort. Our defense starts our offense. Our defense is solid and we really haven't given up many goals all year."
With the win, the Lady Lancers play the North 2, Group 4 winner in group state championship play. That game will be played on Tuesday night at a time and location to be announced against the winner of the Watchung Hills, Bridgewater-Raritan game, which was also played on Friday afternoon.