The Ridge High School girls soccer team fell to Lenape 2-0 Saturday in the NJSIAA Group 4 championship at The College of New Jersey. Lenape, which beat Ridge in the 2008 final, scored two first-half goals for the victory Saturday.
Ridge was slow to gain steam at the start the game. Lenape took advantage and Courtney Kovac scored in just the fifth minute of play. Ridge made some offensive runs, but Lenape took a commanding lead with 10 minutes left in the half when Katie Rigby scored to make it 2-0.
"The first half we came out a little sluggish, we weren't ready for it, and they got two balls in on us," Ridge senior Jackie Tobia said. "The second one, we put our heads down a little bit. At half time, we said 'we can't lose this, we have to put up a fight.' And the second half we put up the fight and kept it 0-0, we had more shots on goal than them. We gave it our all. It was a great season. It is just good to get here."
Ridge, however, came out rejuvinated in the second half.
"For us, the second half, it's a new game," Ridge coach Katie Donahue said. "I felt we played a little less timid, started to step to it a little bit and not let them take it to us."
The Devils took it to Lenape, keeping the ball in the Indian end for most of the half. Although there were a couple of opportunites, Ridge was fought off by a smothering defense that stopped every advance made against them.
DEVIL KEY PERFORMERS
Elise Romano, midlfielder—Romano was the stopper on defense and the starter on the offense for the Devils; Kelly McWhorter, forward—McWhorter had a couple of opportunities in the penalty area and got an elbow to the face for her efforts; Gigi Cefelli, midfielder—Cefelli fed the forwards and had a great shot late in the second half that Lenape's Allison Johnson had to sky to stop; Jackie Tobia, midfielder—Tobia was active side to side and end to end working the ball into the Lenape end.
THEY SAID IT
"When we came into this game we said the first ten minutes we need to make sure we don't go down. When we went down, I didn't know how we were going to react because we haven't been down by a goal in I don't know how many games. For the second half, I said we need to come out and start connecting the ball and we still had some trouble with that, we still weren't winning the first balls that we needed to win. We knew their attack was unlimited, they attack with numbers and speed and we just could not hold the ball.
"It is frustrating because I know we didn't play our best game, collectively and individually. But we hold our heads up high knowing that we got here and they left it all on the field that second half. Unfortunately, you need to string it together for 80 minutes. Hats off to them [Lenape], they are the champions. They did what they needed to do today and they are a fantastic team."—Ridge coach Katie Donahue