LIVINGSTON, NJ — Games between West Orange and Livingston have been highlights of the Essex County girls soccer season in recent years.
In the latest renewal of the heated rivalry between the two sides, Livingston scored a first-half goal and made it stand up in a 1-0 victory over the Mountaineers Tuesday afternoon.
Last year, West Orange took two of the three meetings between the teams, winning a regular-season meeting and the Section 1, Group 4 quarterfinal, while Livingston ousted West Orange in the Essex County Tournament semifinals.
There will not be a county tournament this year, but Tuesday's game was contested with similar intensity. Late in the first half, senior forward Lauren Belcuore scored with an assist from Kylie Prendergast for the only goal of the game for undefeated Livingston (4-0-1).
West Orange (2-2) made several runs in the second half, but Lancers' goalie Gianna Healy turned away all threats and finished with nine saves. Jessica Welcome of West Orange made four saves. The Mountaineers attempted nine shots on goal to five for the Lancers.
The shot differential, according to West Orange head coach Sean Devore, was indicative of his teams having the better of play for much of the contest.
"It was a very tough game and hard fought on both sides," Devore said. "I thought we actually had the better of play and had more chances, but I give Livingston a lot of credit. They defended well as a team and were able to keep us from scoring."
Although there won't be a chance for a county tournament rematch, the two teams could still meet again in the state tournament later in November.
"They scored a nice goal in the first half, but overall, I thought our defense and goalkeeper played very well," Devore said. "It is always a good game when West Orange and Livingston play. Hopefully we'll get to play again in the state tournament. But I give Livingston a lot of credit, we played well, but today they were the better team."