SCOTCH PLAIN/FANWOOD, NJ -- The Raiders were able to pull out a victory today against Jackson Memorial in the last two minutes of the second half. The Raiders had a plethora of chances in the first half but were not able to capitalize. They had free kicks and corners but couldn't finish.
The Raiders chances continued in the second half. Georgi Vacca sent a through ball to Corinne Lyght who took a shot but had it stopped by the Jackson Memorial goalie. The Lady Raiders had dominated for most of this game, but they could not find the back of the net. The Raiders had five corner kicks in the second half but was not able to put any in the back of the net. In the last ten minutes of the game Jackson Memorial put the pressure on and Rebecca Kessler had to come out with an aggressive save to keep the score at 0-0.
“The ball was coming over the top and I did not want to come out with my feet because it was bouncing too high" goalie Rebecca Kessler told TAPintoSPF after the game. “I told Ashley (DiFranceso) to shield her off right up until it got to the 18-yard line, and I pounced on it quickly. The Jackson player flew over me because I was able to stop the ball.”
With 2:15 left in the second half, Corinne Lyght was fouled right outside the 18 yard box. The Raiders had the opportunity to take the lead here and go to the state finals. Junior Leah Klurman stepped up to take the kick and surprised Jackson Memorial by hitting a low and hard ball and it found its way into the back of the net to give the Raiders the 1-0 lead. The crowd erupted, and thanks to some smart ball-handling by Corinne Lyght in the corner as the seconds ticked away, the Raiders were able to hold off Jackson Memorial to win and move onto the finals.
“I knew I could not miss this free kick or shoot the ball too high, so I drove it hard and low and I knew the goalie would not be able to get there, and it went in.” Leah Klurman said after the game.
"Jackson is a very good team and a very defensive team” Coach Kevin Ewing said after the game. “We moved the ball well in the offensive end, and we had chances, but we could not finish those chances unfortunately until the very end, but that is credit to Jackson and how well they played.”
“Our entire team played well today, our forwards, back line, and those who held the center.” Coach Ewing said.
The Raiders look ahead to the state finals as they will play Toms River North on Sunday at Toms River. The time is still TBD.