NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — All it took was one goal early in the game for the New Providence girls soccer team to make it stand up, thanks to superior defense and goalkeeping.
The Lady Pioneers (5-1-1) scored a 1-0 shutout of visiting Elizabeth after scoring the game's lone goal 9:45 into the contest.
Sophomore forward Grace Kelly scored with an assist from Gillian Poiesz to break the ice early in the contest. New Providence took a quick corner with Kavita Parekh playing a short ball to Poiesz, who then crossed the ball to the near post, where Kelly volleyed it in.
New Providence only attempted five other shots on goal. They came close to adding to the lead a couple of times on set pieces midway through the second half. And, while that breathing room certainly would have been welcome to the Pioneers, their back line and sophomore goalie Carleigh Robertson held the fort.
"I thought the back line and Carliegh had a very good game," New Providence coach Scott Murphy said. "They did a very good job communicating with each other and keeping the play in front of them."
Senior back Amy Maurer, freshman back Sophia Salazar and junior midfielder Reagan Wawzycki all came up with big defensive plays or redirects to disrupt Elizabeth set pieces that could have tied the game.
"Elizabeth had a lot of possession in the second half so the backline needed to be very sharp and focused to hold them off. It is always nice to get a shutout," Murphy said.
Robertson made three saves, and also cleared the ball out of New Providence's end a couple of times with strong-footed kicks.