MENDHAM, NJ – If you could pick a time to score your first varsity soccer goal, it would be in a big game. That’s just what Morristown junior mid-fielder Olivia Scott did when she netted the lone score of the match 12 minutes into the second half off an assist from Kathryn Duff in the team’s 1-0 road win over the eighth-seeded Mendham on Sunday afternoon as they advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Morris County girls soccer tournament.
Scott came on as a replacement for fresh legs in the second half in an effort to put more pressure on Mendham and she seized the opportunity with the playing time.
“I was pretty nervous being 1-on-1 with the goalie, but my teammate Katie Duff gave me a nice ball to put me in a good position to take a shot and I just kicked it as hard as I could into the back of the net,” Scott said after the game. “I’m really happy for my team because I know this time last year we actually lost to Mendham and got eliminated from the tournament. It’s great that I could help out my seniors and get them to keep going further into the season.”
Less than five minutes after scoring the go-ahead goal, Mendham threatened to score the equalizer and clipped the top of the crossbar on a shot inside the box. In what proved to be a physical game, Morristown’s defense tightened up in the second half and gave up few opportunities to tie the game.
Morristown goalie Mia Cacala made seven saves in the match. None were more important than the one-handed, full extension save that she made in the waning minute of the game to preserve the shutout.
“We know this team – they’re always well prepared, they’re always physical and fight and win that first ball,” suggested Morristown girls’ varsity soccer head coach Scott Hansen, recounting the team’s past matches against Mendham over the last two seasons. “Our game plan was to match their energy and the physical side of the game because we know that they do that really well.”
“This team has come so far in their leadership,” Hansen added. “The seniors and captains that we have on the field have been outstanding. “Our defense has really come together and we defend from the front all the way to the back. We’ve got leadership in goal and the back line; I’m really proud of the way that we closed this game.”
Morristown (5-2-3) advances to Sunday’s quarterfinal round and will take on the No. 1 seeded undefeated Randolph team (7-0-2) whom the Colonials lost to earlier this season. Randolph is coming off a 2-0 win over No. 16 seed Montville on Saturday.
“We played Randolph the first game of the season and they beat us 5-0,” Hansen said of the upcoming opponent. “We don’t think that score reflects the performance of how we played that day we just made a few errors on the first game of the season and it was just one of our two losses.”
Hansen, however, admitted that the task ahead won’t be an easy one.
“Randolph is a very good team, but we’re going to have some ideas on how to improve upon our first performance and see if we can make the game interesting,” he suggested.
The quarterfinal match will be held in Randolph on Sunday, October 6 with the time to be determined.