After a disappointing draw on the road last weekend, the Montclair State University Red Hawks women's soccer team returned home to MSU Soccer Park to face Ramapo College of New Jersey on Homecoming Day for their school and Senior Day for their program.
Coming into Saturday's Homecoming Day match against Ramapo College, the Montclair State University Red Hawks women's soccer team were sporting a 6-1-1 overall record. The Red Hawks are the defending champions of the NJAC regular season title and that made winning today against an in-conference opponent an early but important step for their hopes to repeat.
The Red Hawks came into last Sunday's game against NJAC opponent Stockton University on a five-game winning streak, but had it snapped by drawing with the Ospreys 0-0. Fortunately for Montclair State their next opponent was Ramapo College, who they have never lost to and have a 26-0-4 record against all-time.
Red Hawks Strike First
It didn’t take long for the Red Hawks to get on the scoreboard because in the sixth minute, Red Hawk defender Julie Baker beat a Ramapo defender to the ball and crossed towards the near post, where it was deflected into the net by a Ramapo player. Baker was given credit for the goal and the Red Hawks took an early 1-0 lead.
For the remainder of the first half, Ramapo managed to not concede another goal. That was largely thanks to their goalkeeper, who made eight saves on nine Red Hawks shots-on-goal.
Four minutes into the second half, the Red Hawks stretched their lead to two when Baker crossed the ball into a dangerous area of Ramapo’s 18-yard-box and the ball was deflected into the net by a Ramapo player.
In the 54th minute, the Red Hawks made it 3-0 when Baker completed her first career hat-trick. She received a pass from Kylie Prendergast inside the box, which she finished without hesitation. Now that the Red Hawks led by three, their head coach Patrick Naughter began subbing off starters. Naughter subbed in seniors Lauren Ernst who came into the game for starting midfielder, Aileen Cahill and Tara Lambert for Baker in the 68th minute. In the 76th minute, senior defender Samantha Ondrush came on for starting defender Kelly Fitzgerald and senior midfielder, Olivia Kedziora came on for midfielder Vanessa Ponce.
Even though many of Montclair State’s starters had been subbed out, the Red Hawk offense kept going. In the 81st minute, freshman forward Gianna Curci dribbled into Ramapo’s 18-yard-box, made a move around a defender and took a shot. A Roadrunner defender slid to block the shot, but the ball deflected off her and bounced high into the net to give the Red Hawks a 4-0 lead.
Six minutes later, Montclair State earned a penalty-kick, which Kedziora stepped up to take and she shot the ball into the left side of the net for her first career goal.
Red Hawks Discuss Senior Day Win
Montclair State went on to defeat Ramapo College by a score of 5-0. After the game, Julie Baker who scored her first three goals as a college soccer player discussed how the win felt.
Coming off Wednesday’s disappointing draw, we were all super motivated. We wanted to get back on a winning streak. It was just great to get back on the field, we got a lot of people on, it was just a fun day.
Five Red Hawk seniors had the opportunity to play on Senior Day: Cahill, Ernst, Kedziora, Lambert and Ondrush but, today was a little more special for Kedziora. That is because it was the first time she had stepped onto the field for the Red Hawks since last November. After the game, the senior midfielder from Mullica Hill, New Jersey described how it felt to return but also to score her first career goal, as well.
Just awesome. Like, I’ve been out for a while because I partially tore my meniscus. So being back and scoring a goal was definitely huge and especially on senior night.
This win improves Montclair State’s record to 7-1-1 overall as well as improving their record against conference opponents to 2-0-1.
Red Hawks Head Coach, Patrick Naughter described why following up last weekend's draw with an emphatic win on Homecoming Day was so important to his team.
As far as the win—it’s good—we take the points and move on. How we won, the fact that its senior day, the fact that we we’re able to get all the seniors on. The fact that Tara [Lambert] and [Olivia] Kedziora were able to come back from injuries and play for us was unbelievable. The kids love Tara and 'Kedz', so the fact that they we’re able to celebrate with them, get a win today, and we get to go watch a football game now. It’s awesome. It's great. They deserve it.
What's Next for Red Hawks Women's Soccer
Thanks to today’s win, the reigning NJAC Champions moved ahead of Rowan University and into first place in the NJAC standings with seven conference points. Naughter shed some light on what following up a conference draw with a conference win means for his team going forward.
This group loves each other, and I know it’s corny, but you see it with the energy on the sideline, kids are rooting for each other. That’s why I was so heated in the first half because I thought the score wasn’t reflective of the game. I thought we didn't get four big moments in the game, three PKs and a goal all went against us and if you get the scoreboard going, you can get some kids some minutes. There were a lot of positives there and the kids fought through that and took that over as a controllable and what that does is, [it makes it] a great game for all of us and there’s something about a team win like that, that just gets everybody a pep in their step, and we’ll be flying going into next week.
The next opponent for the Red Hawks women’s soccer team is the Arcadia University Knights, who they will face on Oct. 4 at 7:00 p.m. in Pennsylvania. It's an out-of-conference game but one that should be a good test for the Red Hawks who have a 2-5-1 record against Arcadia all-time.
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