Photo caption: Top Row- Elyse Mackenzie, Maddie Hart, Alexa Aldredge, Jenna Ellenbacher, Lyndsay Pace, Annie Vollenbroek, Shannon McGovern, Brianna Brogan. Front row- Hannah DeMars, Ana DiGiovanni, Annie Gunter, Isabella Meliado, Corinne Savulich, Siobhan McGovern, Julia Madsen. Not pictured- Megan Pringle, Emily Bradford and Mairead McKeary.
After a disheartening loss to Scotch Plains in double overtime during the
semifinals of last year’s county tournament, the Cranford girls soccer team is
determined to take the next step this season. The team is already on its
way with a current record of 8-0.
Co-captain Ana DiGiovanni said with that loss hanging over the team’s head they came into this season determined to win counties.
“We have had a very motivated team from the beginning,” DiGiovanni said. “It’s an awesome group of girls who have been working together both on and off the field.”
She added that 11 girls on the team are seniors and after last year’s defeat they are ready to make something happen.
The team is almost identical to last year’s, but with two new sophomores. Sophomore Siobhan McGovern is currently the team’s leading scorer.
Head coach Jen Michewicz echoed DiGiovanni’s point about the mostly senior team adding that over half of the seniors have been on varsity since freshman year and they ready to step it up this year.
"I wouldn't describe us as a team with one or two all-star players," Michewicz said. "We just have a strong team that works well together on and off the field."
Michewicz added that the team’s goal at
the beginning was to start out strong, 3-0, which they did, and continued that
streak to 8-0.
Staying undefeated wasn’t an original goal, but now that it is realistic, it is definitely something the team is striving to continue, Michewicz added.
“Making it to the county tournament is well within our reach,” she said. Adding that making it to the state finals is also one of the goals for this season.
The team has yet to take on some of their biggest rivals in the county, Westfield and Scotch Plains. Michewicz said that those games would definitely raise the stakes for the team.
“We have a talented group of girls that love the game,” DiGiovanni said. “We still talk about last year’s loss… we use that as motivation and fuel.”
The team takes on Johnson of Clark at home Tuesday at 4 p.m. Saturday is the team's next playoff game against either New Providence or Rahway.