Girls Soccer: Lyght, McNeely Lift Scotch Plains-Fanwood to Opening Day Victory

Corinne Lyght, #6, celebrates scoring her first goal -- 20 seconds into her high school career. Credits: Matt Kipp
Kerri Mcneely leads the Raiders in goals this year. Credits: Matt Kipp
Corinne Lyght scored the Raiders' first goal of the season. Credits: Matt Kipp
Erika Muskus passes the ball. Credits: Matt Kipp
Kayla Krutis, left, runs into a Morristown player. Credits: Matt Kipp
Ashley Vincent competes for a lose ball. Credits: Matt Kipp
Taylor Diggs looks to pass the ball. Credits: Matt Kipp
Taylor Diggs controls the ball. Credits: Matt Kipp

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD -- You couldn't write a better script for an Opening Day win.

Freshman Corinne Lyght scored a goal seconds into her varsity debut, and senior Kerri McNeely, playing in her final season opener, netted the game-winning goal, as the Scotch Plains-Fanwood girls’ soccer team defeated Morristown, 2-1, Thursday afternoon. 

With the score tied at one and just over 20 minutes left to play, the Raiders’ Danielle Mrozek took control of the ball near the middle of the field. The senior midfielder sent a cross through two Morristown defenders, finding the foot of classmate McNeely, who ran through and open path.

Sign Up for E-News

One of the state’s premier forwards, McNeely took the ball on the left side of the goal inside the box, dribbled closer to center and lifted a shot that soared above the goalie and sunk just before the crossbar, hitting the back of the net and giving Scotch Plains what proved to be the winning score.

“I saw an open pathway, and Danielle Mrozek crossed it right through the two defenders, so I had a wide-open shot,” said McNeely. “We never stopped — we just kept going at them — and we eventually did get the goal, which boosted our confidence again.”

While McNeely is entering her third varsity season with 29 career goals, on the other side of the Raiders’ starting front line Thursday was Lyght, a varsity starter as a freshman. 

And in a sequence almost too unbelievable to be true, Lyght, 20 seconds into the game, provided the Raiders with a 1-0 lead. 

Making her first varsity start in her first varsity game, Lyght found the ball at her feet on a breakaway. Weaving through the Morristown defense, she fired a ball right inside the box that soared past Morristown goalie Sarah Wilson and met the blue netting inside the goal.  

“I was just so happy to be able to get a goal — it meant that all my hard work has payed off,” Lyght said. “It was just nice to be able to get the goal to start the momentum, and to be able to win the game.”

The goal did more than just put the Raiders on the board. As expected, Lyght acknowledged that she was a bit nervous to start her first game at the highest level of high school soccer.

But that all changed after her storybook goal: “Scoring the goal helped me gain more confidence. When I was playing, I was not as nervous on the ball at all,” she said.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, Lyght’s goal was equalized by Morristown early in the second half. The Colonials’ Holly Burns controlled the ball from about 30 yards out, broke the Raiders’ defense and fired off a rocket that eluded Raiders’ goalie Maya Kessler. 

Despite allowing the goal, Kessler, a sophomore, notched three saves on the afternoon, including one game-saver. With under 20 minutes to play, Kessler dived to stop Morgan O’Neil, who was storming towards the goal without any Raider defenders close by. 

With momentum running high from the exhilarating season-opening win, the Raiders now prepare for a showdown with heated rival, powerhouse Westfield, slated for Saturday. 

“We’re so excited [for Saturday], I can’t put it into words,” McNeely said. “That’s the game that we’re hyped about.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Summer Life Guard Job Opportunity in Union County

April 10, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ - Summer lifeguard positions are available at Union County’s public swimming pool, the Walter Ulrich Memorial Pool at Rahway River Park in Rahway.

“Union County’s Ulrich Pool provides our youth and adult summer job seekers with an opportunity to enjoy working outdoors in the fresh air all summer long while sharpening valuable life skills including leadership, ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 21, 2018

Dear Editor:

After Bruce Patterson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County Freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting Freeholder, I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered.

At the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union ...

Helping Teenagers Deal with Prom Night Stress

April 18, 2018

Prom can be one of the most exciting times for your teenager but at the same time one of the most stressful. 

It can also be very stressful for parents as they prepare themselves to accept that their teenager is graduating and soon going away to school, while planning a weekend away after prom night. Going to the Shore for the weekend or somewhere overnight has become more of the ...

Scotch Plains Public Library to Host Star Wars Craft for Teens

April 24, 2018

May the Fourth be with you!  Teens in grades 5-12 are invited to the library on Friday, May 4 at 3:30 pm for a Star Wars-themed craft.

For more information or to register, visit, email, call (908) 322-5007 x 204 or stop by the Reference Desk.

The Scotch Plains Library is located at 1927 Bartle Ave., one block from Park Ave. in the center of ...