SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Led by an early offensive attack, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood girls’ soccer team defeated the Franklin Warriors, 2-0, in round one of the NJSIAA North 2, Group 4 State Tournament on Tuesday afternoon at Wexler Field.

The Raiders didn’t waste much time to get the scoring started, when Danielle Mrozek’s shot in the ninth minute deflected off a Franklin player and into the goal. Thirty minutes later, Kerri McNeely found the back of the net from a deflection for her team-leading 17th goal of the season. Sophie Brause, a senior, had assists on both goals.

“[McNeely] is high-energy all the time. She’s good with the ball at her feet, she’s fast, aggressive, and she looks to put it away,” Raiders Head Coach Kevin Ewing said after the victory.

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The Raiders’ early lead allowed them to relax a bit on offense and take more chances, which was reflected in their 17 shots on goal.

“We want to get ahead because you don’t want kids to play tight; you want kids to play loose, and I think that’s what we did,” Ewing said. “We had other opportunities, too, that we didn’t take advantage of. But at least we had those opportunities and we could take a little more risk offensively.”

SP-F’s defense also contributed in a large way to the victory, as the Raiders held Franklin to just a pair of shots on goal in the shutout.

“The defense has been great all year. Hopefully we can keep it up, because it’s just so solid. The kids we have out there do a great job,” Ewing said.

Raiders’ goalie Andrea Leitner recorded two saves, while the Warriors’ Brooke Sachau stopped 15 shots.

The undefeated Raiders (16-0-3) advance to the North 2, Group 4 quarterfinals, where they will host sixth-seeded Elizabeth, which defeated Woodbridge, at 2 p.m. on Friday. SP-F routed Elizabeth, 5-0, on Oct. 15.

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