RANDOLPH, NJ- The Lady Rams fought hard but lost to a tough Hunterdon Central squad by a score of 2-1. After seven straight victories, it was their first loss of the season.
The teams traded blows throughout the match, but Randolph could not get the breaks they needed to win and stay perfect on the season. "Given our experience I thought we handled that team, who had a lot of experienced returning varsity players, very well," said Rams senior forward Katija Brackelmanns-Puig, "I just wish that we could have had a more intense last 10 minutes. That's where we lost the game."
Hunterdon Central got off to a dream start as they managed a beautifully executed goal within the first two minutes of the game. With the one goal lead, Central reverted to an ultra defensive tactic to hold the lead for the rest of the match, causing major disarray for the Rams' attack.
The Rams continued to battle and make the most of their possessions through the rest of the first half and into the second half, until the 54' minute when Brackelmanns-Puig was left wide open and took advantage of Central's mistake with a game-tying goal.
"I was just hoping that Maria would see me open on top of the box, which she did with a perfect pass." said Brackelmanns-Puig, "I knew that I didn't have much time I had time for one touch because I had space, but having been in almost that exact situation before I knew to not waste the opportunity with too many touches. So I touched it with my left into my right and by then I barely had any space to shoot, but it just went right on in."
The goal changed the game as Randolph began pressing and charging for the game winning goal. The defense improved in the second half after the quick goal in the beginning. However, after giving up a corner kick, Randolph could not stop a head in goal with 12 minutes to go as Central went on to hold a 2-1 lead until the final whistle.
The Lady Rams now have a tune up match versus Morris Knolls before the county finals start for number 1 seeded Rams.
"We definitely want to scare them and the rest of the county," said Brackelmanns-Puig. "It's going to be one of the last games we have before counties begin and we want to make a presence in the county. We're first seed and we want to prove that we deserve it."
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