NUTLEY, NJ – After both teams played great defense and offense for the first half and tied 1-1 at halftime Tuesday night, Lauren Belcuore’s goal late in the second half led the Livingston Lancers to a 2-1 victory over the Nutley Raiders.
“We didn’t clear the ball out,” Raiders Head Coach Mike DiPiano said in a post-game interview. “We tried to be fancy in the back and they took it away.”
The coach explained that a strong defensive team cannot give their opponent opportunities like that one.
“We work so hard defensively that we can’t just give up free hits,” he told TAPinto Nutley. “That was pretty much a free ball for them.”
On Nutley’s offense, Emily DeAngelo scored a goal on an assist from Sam Gabriele in the first half. While DiPiano was proud of his team’s offensive effort during the first 40 minutes, he noted several missed scoring opportunities.
“We had a better team in the first half,” the coach said. “I thought we could have gotten on the scoreboard a couple more times though. Sam Gabriele had two opportunities, Maisie Jelley had two opportunities and they made an excellent save on Giulia Polewka during her first game back.”
As the end of the season nears and the Raiders prepare for the game that can qualify them for home field advantage in the Essex County Tournament, they stand at (4-8), a record that was caused by a one-point difference in most of their contests.
“We’ve lost to six teams by one goal,” DiPiano said. “We’re right there, but we just need that one. I’ll trade in all these losses to get one or two wins in the county and state tournaments.”
The Raiders will face the Montclair Kimberly Cougars on Thursday at 4 PM. Although they have a record of (9-3-1), DiPiano doesn’t see them as a challenge since they play in the B Division and have had a lot of close wins this season.
“I don’t think they’re that much of a difficult team,” the coach told TAPinto Nutley. “If this season has told us anything it’s that it’s going to be a game and it’s going to be a close one. We’re looking forward to the challenge. We think we’re just as good as them and it’s just about scoring one more goal.”