NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - The West Essex Field Hockey Team is poised for a state playoff title defense after a 9-0 victory over Livingston that gave their seniors a proper send off on “Senior Day."
“It was a great chance to give all of our seniors the chance to start in the first half and they did a really nice job,” said West Essex Head Coach Jill Cosse.
The Lady Knights pounced on a young Livingston squad that has gone through many growing pains this year. Senior Captain Sarah Iannuzzi scored the games decisive goal in the 10th minute of the contest. Ianuzzi collected two more goals and an assist to finish the afternoon for an encore performance to the home crowd.
“[Ianuzzi] is the best, I know if I can rely on anyone it’s always her she always has my back and I’m so proud of her because she doesn’t usually score as many goals but she stepped up this game,” said fellow Captain Julia Russo of her teammate.
Julia Russo joined Ianuzzi in a dominating effort over Livingston that yielded 34 first-half shots. Russo collected three goals and an assist herself in the contest to give her a bitter-sweet senior day send off.
“It’s sad though, I’m upset because I’ve been here for four years and it’s crazy to see how fast it went by,” Russo said.
While this was the last regular season home game for the group the Lady Knights used it as a tune up for their North One Group Two State Section Semifinal. The squad is gearing up for a showdown against four-seeded Westwood on Halloween.
“You can’t go into States at this point being so concerned about anybody else, you have to have your own identity on the field and if you don’t have an identity at this point you set yourself up…I think we’re in a really good place,” said Cosse.
Cosse feels the team us up to the task at defending their state title. Citing losses for the seniors in their first two high school campaigns as well as a Championship as learning experiences the team she feel the squad is poised at making another run for a back-to-back crown.
“These seniors have a wealth of experience that they’ve handed down to our younger kids and I think individually they’ve all traveled a good journey in four years and it’s exciting to see them come into the playoffs because they have experience,” Cosse said.