NUTLEY, NJ — The 100-plus-goal record-holder Zoe Steck scored four times Saturday morning en route to the Nutley Raiders girls varsity soccer team’s 5-1 victory over the West Essex Knights.
Nutley improved to (14-3-1, 6-2 SEC) with its home victory, while West Essex fell to (5-9-2, 3-0-2 SEC)
Senior forward Steck set a new program record on Tuesday, when she scored the 100th goal of her career in Nutley’s 6-0 defeat over the Bergenfield Bears. Her team then fell 1-0 to the Montclair Mounties in the Essex County Semifinals the following day.
Coach Mike DiPiano said he was not expecting such an easy game, despite West Essex’s season record. They have accumulated a lot of losses, but played a number of strong teams, the coach said. However, Nutley did so well that all 20 girls had the opportunity to play, DiPiano added.
“We wanted to have a nice game today to get us ready for the States Tuesday and they did a good job,” DiPiano said.
In addition to Steck’s four goals, junior Isabella Gonsiewski recorded her sixth goal of the season. Despite the loss, West Essex keeper Naomi Pidgeon was able to block 14 shots on goal throughout the game.
Steck thanked her team for working together so well this season and giving her the opportunity to thrive on the field.
“It’s been a really great senior year and I think a lot of it is because of the team,” said Steck, who is heading to the University of Connecticut next year. “The way that they’re playing has allowed me to play as well as I have been able to.”
Junior goalkeeper Jillian DeSantis recorded five saves to prevent the visiting team from scoring a second goal.
The Raiders’ success today makes Steck and DiPiano feel confident about the first round of the Essex County State Tournament, in which they will face the (5-10-4, 4-7-1 SEC) Warren Hills Blue Streaks.
Nutley is the fifth seed in North Jersey Section 1. DiPiano said he knows it is a competitive section, but said he and the girls are ready for the fierce State Tournament.