NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Barely a week into the 2019 season, it appears that the 1-1 stalemate that the New Providence and Johnson of Clark girls' soccer teams played to on Tuesday afternoon was beneficial to both squads.
"You always want to win but I feel this was a fair result," said New Providence head coach Scott Murphy. "Johnson is young but a very good team. It was a pretty even match with us playing better in the first half and them doing better in the second half."
Playing at home at Lieder Field, New Providence (1-0-1) got on the scoreboard first when sophomore Kyra Trumbull scored off a feed from sophomore Marilyn Keating with just over two minutes remaining in the opening half.
"Johnson tried to clear the ball but we were able to gain possession and Reagan (Wawzycki) took a shot that deflected over to Marilyn," said Murphy. "She was then able to get the ball over to Kyra who scored."
The Lady Pioneers' 1-0 lead held until 12 minutes into the second half when Lily Gull scored off a pass from Jenna Wiese as Johnson (2-0-1) knotted the score, 1-1.
"The goal was off a set piece and we were very happy with the result," said Johnson head coach Ken Leeder. "New Providence is a very good team and Scott is a good coach. We're starting three freshmen so we're young. When they tied it they were excited and we had a chance or two in overtime but we'll settle for the tie."
Neither team scored in the ensuing two 10 minute overtime periods so both Union County Conference Mountain Division rivals stay undefeated.
Freshman goalie Carleigh Robertson made five saves for New Providence while her counterpart, senior Jackie Minniti of Johnson, turned aside seven shots.
The Lady Crusaders, which had defeated New Providence twice a year ago, went 17-4 in 2018, losing to Gov. Livingston in the sectional semifinal round.
"We're a younger team this season and have to learn how to play more physical," said Leeder. "But that will come as the season progresses."
New Providence, which is coming off a season where it went 13-8-1 and played for a sectional championship, will play at Roselle Park on Friday, Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. before making the short trip to Berkeley Heights to play neighboring rival Gov. Livingston on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 2 p.m.
"We use what we achieved last year as motivation for the returning players to replicate it or surpass it," said Murphy. "The more we play this season the better we'll be."