CLARK, NJ — Cranford High School’s Girls’ Varsity Soccer team continued its undefeated season with a 3-1 victory over Westfield in the semifinals of the Union County Tournament Oct. 19.
The Cougars received goals from Hannah Demars, Madeline Hart and their leading scorer Mairead McKeary.
"We don’t have a bunch of all-stars, but we all are hard-working,” Cranford head coach Jen Michewicz said. “I have a solid group of girls that work really well together."
Both teams came out of the gate strong, as their coaches planned to put pressure on the opposing defense early in the game. Cranford’s first goal came in the 13th minute when Alexa Aldrege sent a corner into the box, setting up Demars for the quick header past Blue Devils keeper Lizzie Brucia.
"One of our goals from the beginning was to go out and get that early lead so that we could have Westfield on their heels a little bit, and we were able to do that tonight," Michewicz said.
Cranford continued the attack throughout the half and cashed in with only five minutes left when Siobhan McGovern found Hart streaking down the field, who put it past the keeper on a one-on-one opportunity.
Down 2-0, Westfield was forced to press for the entire second half. In the 63rd minute, Blue Devil Hannah Liddy passed it outside to Gianna Devito, who booted a lefty shot into the back of the net near the far post.
Westfield continued to press, but their aggressiveness led to a breakaway by McKeary, who got past the Blue Devils’ defense and gave the Cougars a two-goal lead once again.
“It was a really tough loss, but I give Cranford a lot of credit,” Westfield head coach Alex Schmidt said. “They're undefeated and experienced. We just hope to rebound from this for the state tournament and go on from there.”
Cranford will go on play in the Union County Tournament finals next Saturday, Oct. 26, against Scotch Plains at Kean University at 7 p.m.