CEDAR GROVE, NJ — The Cedar Grove girls soccer team broke its losing streak in a big way with a 1-0 upset victory over Fort Lee on the team’s Senior Night.
“Finally, it’s been a while since we’ve had [a win] … it felt good for the seniors to get a win tonight so I’m happy for them,” said Cedar Grove head coach Tom Moogan.
After a tough beginning in which the Bridgemen possessed the ball the Panthers managed to rebound. In the sixth minute, senior Noelle Nicosia utilized a great set up from her teammates to score the game’s first and only goal. The goal was the first for Nicosia on the season.
“It was similar to a drill we were working on, so I’m glad it worked in the game…[Samira Lukovic] sent a through ball to Kasey [Dente] who had a nice cross to Noelle [Nicosia] that led to a nice tap in goal so it was nice teamwork,” said Moogan
The Bridgemen would battle in the second half forcing a stingy Panther defense to bend, but not break. Cedar Grove managed to clear out any potential damage through hard work in the corners of the field.
“I’m proud with how everybody played, everybody got in and battled tough tonight,” Moogan said.
Ultimately the key player on the back end of the contest for Cedar Grove was goaltender Carlene Topoleski, who also shined on her senior night. Topoleski collected eight second-half saves en route to her first shutout of the season.
“[Topoleski] didn’t have to make too many crazy saves, but she came up big on two or three and in the second half she kept us in there and kept that shutout that she deserved,” Moogan said.
The victory for Cedar Grove is particularly sweet as it comes after a 2-1 loss last year to Fort Lee. The loss in 2019 triggered a downfall for the Panthers that led to six consecutive losses.
“They beat us at their place last year, so we got them this year so it was a good revenge game,” said Moogan.
The Panthers hope that this victory will have the reverse effect than what last year’s did. The Cedar Grove team now stands at 1-6 on the year hoping to turn around their season. The Panthers' next game is Wednesday against Columbia who is 1-5-1 on the year.
“A little celebration tonight, but then back to another hard divisional game…we’ll try and rest up tonight and see if we can lick our wounds and play another tough game tomorrow,” said Moogan.