|Pascack Valley outshoots NBIL rival Ramsey|
HILLSDALE -- The recent history of the NBIL rivalry between the Pascack Valley and Ramsey girls soccer teams suggested that Thursday's North 1, Group 2 state sectional quarterfinal would be no get-one-goal, pack-in-the defense type of match. The state tournament provided a third meeting between the teams that spilt their regular season series at a game apiece while scoring a combined total of 12 goals.
True to form, there were chances both ways as each team pressured the opposing goal throughout, but the game turned in a less than two-minute span just before halftime. Pascack Valley, the second-seeded home team, was leading by a goal with just under five minutes to play in the first half when Ramsey tied the score.
Sloan DePiero’s twisting floater from 30 yards out found the sweet spot just inside the far post and just out of the reach the goalie tied the game. But before Ramsey could get used to playing even, PV’s Heidi Rogers turned and hammered one into the upper 90 just 1:30 later.
It was Pascack Valley that stole the momentum and then tallied the lone goal of the second half for a 3-1 win.
“Ramsey beat us the first time we played them, 5-1, and we remembered that,” said junior Pamela Vangelas, who scored PV’s first goal. “We all know what is at stake in the state tournament and everybody, even our freshman who were in it for the first time, stepped it up today.”
The win also continues an outstanding run of success in the state tournament over the last three seasons for PV. The Indians were Group 2 state co-champions in 2005, made it back to the section final last year (after winning the Bergen County championship) and are now in the semifinals.
“We are used to being in this situation against Ramsey. We played them in this round two years ago, we played them twice during the regular season and they beat us 5-1,” said PV head coach Nicole Olshalsky. “We used that as motivation and then there is also the motivation of being on your home field with the fans up there [in the stands] and playing for your season. It’s everything at once.”
Ramsey was forced to realign due to injury with as senior Karen Ullman was out with a stress fracture in her foot, meaning that Dominique Adamo moved from up front to sweeper. Adamo played well in the back and Lisa Sargenti and Alex Rosenberger generated chances in the offensive third along with DePiero.
“I thought we played pretty even with them through midfield. They finished a couple of times and we didn’t finish. That’s the story of the game, I think,” said Ramsey head coach George Wright, whose team finished this season at 10-8-1. “They only had two or three opportunities in the first half and they converted them. There was nothing my goalie could do about them, they were great shots and they are the real deal up top.”
Vangelas opened the scoring in the 23rd minute and it came off the hard work of Melissa McKeary, who gained possession deep in the penalty area with two defenders on her back. McKeary then slid the ball over to Vangelas, who placed her first touch just under the crossbar.
Rogers’ quick answer of DePiero’s goal gave PV the 2-1 halftime lead, but it was Ramsey that had the first chance of the second half. Rosenberger was just turning the corner inside the box, but her last dribble took a funny hop, hit her in the hand and it was a whistle rather than a shot that ended the play.
In the 49th minute, a Ramsey serve made the connection with the head of Mackenzie Cobb at the far post and her flick was on target. But before it could get to the net, the ball was knocked off line by the head of Alli Lombardi, who never gave up position between the attacker and the goal.
With just under 10 minutes remaining, Pascack Valley found the insurance when freshman Ashley Delaney sent in a knuckler on a diagonal from 25 yards out on the right. Ramsey keeper Jacquey Breitenbach got a hand on it, PV’s Kelly Bassett put a foot to the rebound and the Indians were off to Monday’s semifinal round where another and even more familiar rival will appear.
The Indians will host sister school Pascack Hills, the No. 11 seed that upset No. 3 Kinnelon in penalty kicks.
“We’ll be ready to go no matter who we play,” said Olshalsky. “At this point, you play to keep playing. It’s as simple as that.”
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