Girls Soccer: Pioneers Advance to Section Semis with 3-0 Win Over Brearley

New Providence goalkeeper Jen Maluso (right) has pitched two shutouts to open the 2014 state tournament. Her latest was a 3-0 victory over Brearley on Friday. Credits: Alli Lamhing

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Goalkeeper Jen Maluso has been stellar all season for the Pioneers’ girls’ soccer squad. She’s been even better through the first two games of the state tournament.

Three days after shutting out Ridgefield in the state opener, Maluso led New Providence to their second consecutive victory, a 3-0 shutout over David Brearley, on Friday at New Providence High School.

“It feels pretty good,” Maluso said. “I’m just trying to look forward to the next game, keep my head in the game the entire time and remain focused. I just hope we continue winning.”

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Led by Maluso’s voice in the backfield, the Pioneers never allowed Brearley to maintain pressure in their offensive half of the field. In fact, it wasn’t until late in the second half that Maluso had to make a save.

“The backline, most of the time, don’t get the credit that defenders should get because the notoriety goers to the goal scorers or the ones who get the assists,” head coach Scott Murphy said. “They’ve been solid all year; they cover for each other; they play with each other.”

New Providence’s offensive prowess dictated the pace of the game as three separate Pioneers scored, but all were fed by the same teammate, Lisa Caprara.

Caprara, the team’s leading goal scorer was held off the scoreboard on Friday, but her three assists more than made up for it.

In the first half, Caprara launched a cross from 30-yards away to assist on Erin Fay’s tiebreaking goal. Later in the second half, Caprara ripped a cross from the corner that Laila Steadman bodied into the goal.

Quickly after Steadman put the Pioneers on top 2-0, Caprara connected with Megan Mahlstadt’s head on a corner kick to seal the victory.

“That’s what the difference between a good player and a very good player is,” Murphy said, “someone who can get the ball to other people in the right spots for them to score. Just her being wide and being to create out wide, she was able to get the ball in and assist on all three goals.”

The Pioneers return to action on Tuesday when they will host either No. 3 Verona or No. 6 McNair at Lieder Field.

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