NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — The West Essex field hockey team is heading to its third consecutive North 1, Group 2 state section semifinal match after an 8-0 victory over Parsippany Hills on Friday.

“I thought we played a really well-played, thought-out passing game for the first game of states,” said West Essex head coach Jill Cosse.

The Knights received another phenomenal effort from their underclassmen. Sophomore Cait Lutz was the offensive star of the contest with three consecutive goals that all came within two minutes of each another.

Sign Up for West Essex Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

“[Lutz] is yet to tap into it,” said Cosse. “She’s a really great athlete, but I think she hasn’t even seen the tip of the iceberg for her game. When she decides she’s going to get low and she’s going to impact every play, then she’s going to step into the person I think she has the potential to be.”

Not to be outdone, senior captains Emily Holleuffer and Cameron Kinsella made sure to shine in one of their last games on the West Essex turf. Kinsella added one goal for the game while Holleuffer had two of her own.

“We’re just taking it all in right now because we’ve all grown up together,” said Holleuffer. “To see how far we’ve come and to see everyone growing as a team is really rewarding.”

Making six goals in her last two games, Holleuffer feels as though the support she’s received from her teammates is what has been helping her to succeed.

“Right now I’m just staying low,” said Holleuffer. “I just like having everyone around me. You can’t tell who’s a senior on the field. It’s just nice to know that if someone makes a mistake, the other one is there and we all have each other’s backs.”

The group made sure to not have any lapse in the first half, as the Knights collected all eight of their goals in the frame off of 43 shots and 14 corners.

Gianna Puorro and Natalie Carnovale rounded out the scoring for West Essex in the first half.

“I wanted eight goals right away,” said Cosse. “It came a little slower than I wanted it, but I still think they did a great job earning their corners and fought hard on their opportunities.”

Improving to 18-1-1 on the season, West Essex moves onward to the North 1, Group 2 state section semifinals. The top-seeded Knights will host West Milford on Tuesday, a team they last encountered in 2018 and came away with an 8-0 victory.

In order to defeat West Milford one again to advance in the tournament, Cosse said the Knights are going to have to challenge themselves in practice.