NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - For over a half, the New Providence High girls soccer team kept one of the top teams in the state off the scoreboard.
But Gov. Livingston broke through for two goals after the break to earn a 2-0 decision in a clash between neighboring rivals on Thursday afternoon in New Providence.
With the victory, the Lady Highlanders improved to 13-1 on the season while New Providence fell to 7-5-2. Gov. Livingston had defeated the Lady Pioneers, 5-1, on Sept. 14 in Berkeley Heights.
"We defended pretty well in the first half but they're just a very good team," said New Providence head coach Scott Murphy. "This was definitely a better result than the last time we played them however, and we can build on some things we did today."
Gov. Livingston, the defending Group 2 state champion, struck for two goals in an eight-minute stretch in the second half.
First, Caroline Freer scored in the 55th minute after her shot hit the crossbar and bounced into the net behind New Providence goalie Carleigh Robertson, who made six saves.
Samantha Erickson then put the Lady Highlanders up, 2-0, when she scored off a scramble in the 63rd minute.
"We've had some injuries but have been working through them," said Gov. Livingston head coach Mike Roof. "We were able to score twice and our defense was tremendous."
Gov. Livingston goalie Sarah Foy didn't face a shot on goal with Jackie Penna, Brooke Schwarz, Gianna Ciccimarra, Kelsey DiStaso and Kelly Donfield playing excellent defense in front of her.
Gov. Livingston has only surrendered 11 goals this season with five of those coming in the Lady Highlanders' only loss this fall - a 5-1 setback at Pingry on Oct. 5.
That loss snapped Gov. Livingston's 23-game winning streak, which was the longest in the state at the time, and dropped them out of the state Top 20. Pingry is now ranked 20th in the state.
"It was probably good for us that the loss happened when it did," said Roof. "It was in a non-conference game against a very good opponent."
Gov. Livingston, which is seeded fourth for the Union County Tournament, will now play host to fifth-seeded Oak Knoll in the quarterfinal round on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m. at Snyder Avenue Park.
If Gov. Livingston defeats Oak Knoll, it will meet either top-seeded Cranford or eighth-seeded Union Catholic in the semifinal round on Friday, Oct. 18 at Johnson High in Clark.
"That is going to be a real good game," said Murphy of the Oak Knoll-Gov. Livingston match-up. "Its probably the best of the four quarterfinals being played."
New Providence, which was seeded 12th, dropped a 7-0 decision to Oak Knoll in the second round of the UCT on Oct. 5.
The Lady Pioneers will next play at Linden on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. before returning home to play host to Dayton on Thursday, Oct. 17 at Lieder Field at 6 p.m.
"We're just looking to continue to improve our record as the state tournament approaches," said Murphy.