RANDOLPH, NJ- The Lady Rams hosted their annual "Fan Appreciation Night" in style as they defeated Pope John 2-1 in a thrilling match. The game featured both squads' uptempo styles of play as both teams created multiple chances to take the victory in front of a large crowd at Dasilva Field.
"I thought our team did fabulous," said Rams goalkeeper Rachel Fennell, "We came out strong right from the start."
The Rams and Lions traded possession and shots throughout the beginning of the game in what seemed destined to be a nerve-racking game from the start. Both teams just barely missed the net on a few occasions, until the Rams broke through with a rebound tap-in goal by senior mid-fielder Maria Fairfield in the 18' minute. The Rams had the one goal advantage, however it was a sublime long ball goal by junior mid-fielder Esther Wellman lifted the Rams to the win.
"We have practiced that one play millions of times, and I knew it was my responsibility to score that goal," Wellman said, "After the ball hit the back of the net I was so excited because I have been practicing that shot and it was so relieving to finally make that shot. I immediately ran over to the player that set me up because without my teammates that goal would have never happened."
Although Pope John's Becca Frisk scored a long ball goal herself in the 30' minute, the Rams defense stepped up and held the one goal lead up until the final whistle. It was the first goal the Lady Rams gave up this season, as Fennell and her defensive teamates recorded shutouts in their first four games.
"The defense was solid and managed to hold back Pope John very well," said Fennell, who made 9 saves on the game. "I thought both teams left everything on the field."
The game proved a success for the Rams as they were able to get by their first true test of the season and improve their 5-0 record. The Lady Rams will endure another crucial test in their next game against nearby rival and county contender Roxbury, who feature one of the best attacks in Morris County. The Rams will have to play a perfect game and limit mistakes to get the result they need.
"This was a good stepping stone for us on our way to Roxbury," Wellman said, "They will be a tough team but Randolph High School Girls Soccer is ready to fight."
Maria Fairfield goal 18'
Esther Wellman goal 19'
Scoring, Pope John:
Becca Frisk goal 30'