Defender Kylie McLaughlin looks upfield in Monday against Kearny where Livingston came out on top 1-0. Credits: Brian Dorflaufer
Ilana Bier had the lone goal in Monday's contest, which advanced Livingston to their second straight North 1, Group 4 final where they will be looking to defend their title. Credits: Brian Dorflaufer
Bier’s Goal Jolts Livingston to the North 1, Group 4 Final Setting Up a Rematch
Monday, November 7, 2011 • 9:15pm
LIVINGSTON, NJ—When the state playoff pairings were determined weeks ago, many looked at the North 1, Group 4 bracket and saw Livingston, No. 7 team in the state according to the Star Ledger, have the top seed with Montclair, No. 2 in the state, right behind them.
Both teams advanced Monday as Livingston squeezed by a scrappy Kearny team with a second half goal by Ilana Bier. Montclair handily defeated West Orange 3-0.
“This is all we could ask for,” Livingston defender Kylie McLaughlin said. “Two great teams who have played three amazing games and I am sure the fourth will be the same.”
However, Monday’s victory was not the easiest for the Lancers. Prior to the game, Livingston lost their starting goalkeeper Sam Rothenberger as she hit her face on the goal post diving for a shot in warm-ups.
Head coach Paul Raiz called on freshman keeper Nicole LaRusso and she stepped up to the occasion.
Kearny controlled the entire first half. They outshot Livingston six to three and LaRusso made two diving spectacular diving saves to keep the game tied heading into half.
“We were a little sloppy in the first half,” Livingston assistant coach Dave Cohen said. “It wasn’t the best half but we had some real good looks.”
Livingston increased the on-ball pressure in the second half and used their speed to take over in the second half. During the 40 minute half, the Lancers controlled the ball for 29 minutes and outshot Kearny ten to three.
The one that counted and found the back of the net was two minutes into the second half. Erica Dippold gave a great through ball in the penalty area and that found Bier’s foot. She then unloaded it in the back of the net.
“After the goal, we switched some players around to secure our defense,” Cohen added.
That move was moving Clara Scher from forward to midfielder and the same for Kristine Kelly.
Doing this, Livingston would have two players back who could control the ball and clear it at any given time. Along with the consistent sweeper Carly Swenson, Kearny could do little.
“We know what we are up against Thursday and it will be a great challenge,” Swenson said. “The players and coaches are familiar with one another. It should be another great final.”
The past decade both of Livingston and Montclair have dominated Essex County and North 1, Group 4 play.
On Thursday, the two teams will meet for the fourth time this year, the eighth time in the past two years, and the twelfth time since 2009.
Montclair defeated Livingston 4-0 in a regular season matchup and 1-0 in the classic Essex County Final. The third match was a tie between the two Essex County foes.
“It’s just another game and preparation will be the same. The most important thing is that everyone is loose and ready to play on Thursday,” Cohen concluded.