NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - On Monday, the No. 3 seeded New Providence Pioneers girls lacrosse team defeated the No. 7 seeded Kent Place Dragons, 13-8 to advance to the semifinal round of the Union County Tournament. With the win, the Pioneers improved to 7-2 while Kent Place fell to 3-10.
Kaitlyn Cumiskey paced the Pioneers with four goals while Samantha Scott and Iris Kaloshi chipped in with three goals apiece. New Providence goalie Sarah Zeto (12 saves) led a defensive effort that held the Dragons to just three second half goals.
New Providence head coach Jennifer Henry was happy to see her team finally break through against an always-pesky Kent Place team.
“It was great to see all the girls having fun against a good team like Kent Place,” Henry said. “We always struggle against them, so this win was important because it gives us a good feeling going forward that this program is improving.”
Cumiskey’s three early goals, thanks to assists from Scott and Alanna DelDuca, got things rolling offensively for the Pioneers.
The Dragons would respond with two consecutive goals of their own to pull to within one before Scott’s goal via Sadie Miller’s assist made it 4-2 Pioneers with 12:24 remaining in the first half.
Even though the Dragons fought back to tie the game at five all going into the half, it could’ve actually been worse for the Pioneers. But when you have one of the county’s top goalies in Sarah Zeto, what could happen rarely happens.
Colleen McAlloon led Kent Place's efforts with three goals and one assist. Megan Sanford added two goals while Victoria Blundin, Natalie Gilfilan, and Isabelle Perry chipped in with one apiece.
Zeto blocked a number of Dragon shots late in the half to squash any hopes of momentum from the Dragons.
Despite Monday’s contest being one of her better performances of the season, Zeto was not as satisfied with her play as one would think.
”I didn’t think it was my best performance today,” Zeto said. “But basically I told my teammates I’d have their back and I knew they would have mine.”
The Pioneers opened the second half on a 3-0 run thanks to a pair of goals from Scott and one from DelDuca.
After the Dragons went on a quick 2-1 run to pull to within two, the Pioneers clamped down on defense the remainder of the contest and held the Dragons to just one goal over the final 15 minutes.
“The girls work seamlessly together and you saw that today,” Henry said. “They know they can rely on one another which is key.”
“But I’m so proud of them in how they worked hard until the end,” she said.
The No. 3 seeded Pioneers will face No. 2 seed Oak Knoll on Wednesday in the semifinal round of the UCT at Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark.