Sports

Girls Soccer Preview: Westfield to Face Scotch Plains-Fanwood in UC Tournament

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The Raiders and Blue Devils game on Oct. 15 resulted in a 0-0 tie. Credits: John Mooney
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Taylor Morgan dribbles in midfied during a matchup against Scotch Plains-Fanwood on Oct. 15. She leads the Blue Devils with nine goals. Credits: John Mooney
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Sophie Brause (blue) and Carly Bechtloff (white) contest the ball during a matchup on September 19. Credits: Katherine Guillen
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UNION, NJ – A long-awaited rematch will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31, as Scotch Plains-Fanwood (17-1-1) and Westfield (11-3-2) girls soccer teams battle once again in the Union County Tournament Final round. One team will walk away on top.

“​The girls are very excited for the UCT finals,” Westfield head coach Alexander Schmidt said. “Many of the girls have played in the UCT Finals for JV, but none have made the finals for varsity. We know that SPF has the advantage in experience in the finals and expect them to come out playing hard like they always do. We are trying to get the girls as mentally prepared as possible for the moment in hopes that we can rise to the occasion and play the soccer we are capable of playing.”

The last time both teams appeared in the tournament final round (2012), the schools shared the title after the game resulted in a 1-1 tie.

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The Raiders have since reclaimed sole possession of the title with back-to-back championships against Cranford in 2013 and against Union in 2014. A victory on Saturday would be the sixth consecutive crown for the reigning champs.

In the first of two meetings this season, Scotch Plains-Fanwood muscled out a 1-0 victory over Westfield on Sept. 19 during the Raiders’ uncontested 15-game win streak.

SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD – 1, WESTFIELD – 0

The teams met again on Oct. 15 and battled to a scoreless tie, giving Scotch Plains-Fanwood their first no-decision and inspiring the underdogs from Westfield.

WESTFIELD – 0, SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD - 0

Both the No. 1 seed Raiders and the No. 3 seed Blue Devils entered the tournament on Oct. 17 in the quarterfinal round, posting shutouts against their first opponents.

WESTFIELD – 1, GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON – 0
SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD – 5, A.L. JOHNSON – 0

In the semifinal round, Scotch Plains-Fanwood shut out Oak Knoll for the second time in one week, while Westfield toppled No. 2 seed Cranford to advance to their first final round appearance in three years.

WESTFIELD – 2, CRANFORD – 0
SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD – 6, OAK KNOLL – 0

The Blue Devils enter the matchup as the underdogs statistically, as they have only outscored their opponents 28-20, while the Raiders have blown away opponents all year, outscoring them 67-3.  Goalkeeper Andrea Leitner has posted 16 shutouts for Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the process.

Taylor Morgan and the girls of Westfield will need to snap a longstanding drought against their rivals, however, as the varsity team has failed to score against Scotch Plains-Fanwood in any meeting since October 2013.

A victory for the Raiders on Saturday would be their 20th Union County title. The team hopes to cap off a near-flawless season with a championship.

The Union County Tournament final will be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, at Kean University in Union. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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