CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Coming off of a 10-2 victory against Technology High School, it was hard to imagine that Cedar Grove could top that performance this season, yet the team managed an even more definitive win against Bloomfield Tech at home on Friday.
Before the game, Cedar Grove Head Coach Michael Carlucci emphasized to his team that this could be a trap game for them if they were not careful.
“We want to improve on every game. I didn’t want them to take the game off,” he said.
The girls delivered on that message in the first ten minutes of the game by jumping ahead to a 4-0 lead. All of their leaders were able to get involved with two goals each from sophomore Amanda Martino, and seniors Brianna Pereira and Sara Meixner in that stretch.
In coach Carlucci’s pre-game speech, he urged the girls to come out strong from the very beginning. “If you put a couple in the back of the net right away, it kills their (Bloomfield Tech’s) spirit” he noted.
Even with a 4-0, the girls did not take their foot off of the gas pedal. Goalie Shannon Burke could be heard reminding the team to maintain a 0-0 game mindset and the Panthers went into halftime with an 8-1 lead.
“The fact that we’re up by a few goals shouldn’t mean that we should start slacking off and acting as if we’re going to win regardless,” said Pereira. “It is important to keep playing as if we are tied and are still fighting for something.”.
It was a quiet first half for goalie Burke, who barely saw any action on her side of the field besides Bloomfield Tech’s lone goal.
Bloomfield Tech seemed to lose steam in the second half, but that did not mean Cedar Grove was going to concede anything. The Panthers did not give up another goal the rest of the game and added two more of their own to make the score 10-1.
The stars of the game for Cedar Grove were Martino and Pereira, who scored three goals each in the blowout. This was coming off of a four-goal game for Martino and a two-goal game for Pereira respectively.
When asked if it was important to not only be a vocal leader, but one on the scoreboard as well, Pereira said “I think it is a reason for them to look up to me.”
After two blowouts in a row, Pereira attributed her and her team’s success to chemistry. “We have been playing together all summer and we’ve kind of got this chemistry together that helps a lot on the field,” she said.
Looking ahead, Cedar Grove has a tougher match-up coming up on Tuesday when they go on the road to face Morris County Tech and Carlucci is happy that momentum is on their side. ”We wanted to go into next week’s games with momentum and not sit back on our heels,” he added.