STAFFORD, NJ -- The Scotch Plains-Fanwood field hockey team made history by making it to the state final for the first time in its program history. The team, which has only had a varsity program for four years, lost to No. 1 seed Southern Regional today by the score of 2-0.
In the first quarter Southern started off strong and sent a pass through the Scotch Plains-Fanwood defense, and Southern was able to score to give them the 1-0 lead just one minute and 30 seconds in. In the first quarter, the Raiders could not get a call to go their way and while Southern had multiple penalty corners, they were not able to capitalize on any opportunities.
Just two minutes into the second quarter, Southern took the ball down the field and sent a pass into the circle, and they were able to tap it in to increase their lead. After their opponents scored the Raiders began to start putting the pressure on, Haley Cino sent a pass to Julia Zambrio, who shot the ball just wide. The Raiders had a few penalty corners but were unable to score and went into the half down 2-0.
In the third quarter Southern continued to have chances and goalie Emilia Saccento made some diving saves to keep Southern's lead at two goals.The Raiders had a corner and Zambrio took a shot that went in, but the goal was called back because she was outside the circle.
In the fourth quarter, the Raiders still could not get any calls to go their way and Southern continued to have penalty corners but goalie Emilia Saccento was able to stand strong. The Raiders had some chances on net but could not capitalize and the final whistle blew.
This was only the Raiders fourth year as a varsity program and the fact that they made it to the state finals is unbelievable for a relatively new program.
"We are completely ecstatic to have been able to have a season with everything going on with COVID-19," Coach Ally Neidig told TAPintoSPF after the game. “We lost a large number of girls this year because of COVID and pay-to-play, so we felt like we were walking uphill barefoot in three feet of snow in the start of the season."
"We shook off a tough game against Westfield at the beginning of the season, and the Oak Knoll game was the turning point of our season. If we could hold off Oak Knoll, we could hold off anyone. Ever since, we have been on a four-game winning streak taking top seeded teams left and right. We are hands down a force to be reckoned with."
The Raiders will be losing five seniors this year: Haley Cino, Allie Serio, Erica Schug, Olivia Calcalterra, and Abby Conklin. However, the field hockey team looks to be even stronger next season.
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