NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — A late goal off of an indirect kick in the second half propelled the West Essex girls soccer team to a 2-1 victory against Columbia, earning its second-consecutive win this season.
“It’s really nice, these girls deserve it,” said West Essex head coach Allison Decker. “We’re working hard everyday in practice.”
Tied at one late in the second half, West Essex managed to pressure the Columbia defense for a number of scoring chances. Ultimately, the pressure turned into an indirect kick from freshman Emma Ribiero.
Ribiero’s kick approached the waiting foot of senior Bailey Schuster, who tied it in for the 2-1 lead with just over a minute remaining in the contest.
“I just saw the ball coming and I kind of just threw my body and it went in,” said Schuster.
The goal was Schuster’s first on the season and one of what she hopes to be many game-winners on the season.
“I didn’t know it went in at first until I looked up and saw it in the net and I said ‘thank God,’” she said.
For the Lady Knights, the victory showed how well conditioned the team has been early on in the season. The Knights managed to outshoot Columbia, 5-2, for the half, proving their ability to play a full 80-minute contest.
“That’s something that we spoke about is intensity in the second half, we’ve got to be intense,” said Decker. “Teams are going to come out wanting it in a situation like that and we wanted it and it showed.”
West Essex was equally as effective in the first half, tallying similar totals with an 8-4 lead in shots on net.
Sophomore Lindsay Fusco scored the first goal of the contest only seven minutes and 20 seconds into the game. Fusco’s goal was her second in as many games as the forward has been on a hot streak.
“We need that consistency and I think [Fusco] will continue to bring that and motivate everybody,” said Decker.
Columbia’s lone goal came with 16 minutes and 55 seconds remaining in the half off the foot of Ava DeLaTorre. For DeLaTorre, it was her second goal of the season in as many games for her team.
Despite giving up the goal, West Essex goaltender Danielle Candella rebounded nicely for the remainder of the contest, finishing with six saves on the afternoon.
West Essex improves to 2-1-1 on the season following the victory over Columbia. The Lady Knights will look to continue their winning ways and make it three in a row as they take on Bloomfield on Wednesday.
“We’ve just got to come to practice ready, focused, we’ve got to remember that feeling,” said Decker. “We talk a lot about the mental part of the game and how it’s so important to come ready and come focused and to hate to lose more than you love to win and we talk about those mentalities. I think with a high like that we’re like, ‘Let’s keep going and let’s keep it up.’”