SPF's Katherine Cunningham celebrates with her teammates after making the game-winning goal on a free kick in extra time. Credits: Michael Romano
SPF's Alyssa Riporti fires a shot on goal that sails over the net. Credits: Michael Romano
Union keeper Stephanie Rivero deflects a shot attempt by Scotch Plains. Credits: Michael Romano
Scotch Plains-Fanwood Girls Soccer Reaches UCT Final with Win over Union
Saturday, October 19, 2013 • 9:00pm
CLARK, NJ - The final seconds of extra time were ticking away when Scotch Plains-Fanwood's Katherine Cunningham launched a free kick from outside the box over the diving keeper and into the back of the net, breaking a 1-1 tie with Union High School and sending the Raiders to the Union County Tournament finals.
The Raiders have yet to lose a game this season, but the Farmers proved to be a tough opponent, fighting down to the wire but coming up just short.
“We’re a tough team and we just kept up the intensity until the end,” Cunningham said. “We wanted to win and we knew we would find a way.”
Neither team had anything going for them early in the game as the first half came to a close with no score. Both teams had a few chances but couldn’t capitalize on them. Kelly Yeager had the best chance for Scotch Plains but her shot deflected off of Union keeper Stephanie Rivero and out of play.
Union struck first in the second half when Alyssa Caggiano passed the ball upfield hitting Gina Alfano in stride who redirected it past keeper Andrea Leitner.
The lead was short-lived as just seconds later, Jodie Cornwell took the ball up field and found the Raiders leading scorer in Tori Baliatico who beat Rivero for an easy empty-netter.
“I knew we had to pick it up and work harder,” Baliatico said. “We worked so hard this season not to give it up. I knew we had to push through to get through it.”
The game continued to go back-and-forth for the remainder of the second half until Union was called for a foul during the final minutes of extra time. Cunningham set it up, sent it away and celebrated with her team when the final whistle blew.
“Union was playing a better defensive game and they had some chances, but my girls came through in the end,” Raiders head coach Kevin Ewing said.
Scotch Plains will battle Cranford in the UCT final next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Kean University.