The Ridge girls soccer team needed one more game to again make it to the Group 4 final in postseason playoffs. In their path was Montclair, ranked fourth by The Star Ledger, so facing Wednesday's game, the Devils would have their work cut out for them.1st 2nd FINAL Montclair (18-3-3) 0 1 1 Ridge (16-4-5) 2 1 3
The night was made tough for both teams by near freezing temperatures, cold fingers, toes and a heavy, hard ball. The first half was dominated by Ridge, but it took the Devils 30 minutes to get on the scoreboard with a hard shot from Jenny Haskel from inside the penalty area.
Just six minutes later, Keri Villano delivered a perfect corner kick to the head of Kaitlin Ardiff who scored the second Ridge goal.
"Going in 2-0 at halftime, I couldn't get a word across because they were so excited," said Ridge head coach Katie Donohue, "and that made me nervous. It was a long game and Montclair is so good and have so many players that are dangerous.
"I knew it was going to be a 2-1 game at some point and that we would need a third goal. It was pivotal."
And Montclair would get that goal just six minutes into the second half, as the opponents seemed to be dictating the play. But the Ridge girls held on, and with 6:15 left, Chrissy Weyrauch flipped a lob from 40 yards over the goalie's head for the backbreaker.
"Once again a multitude of different players stepped up when we needed them: Haskel getting on the board with a rocket that nobody could touch, Ardiff coming up on a header and then our little freshman (Chrissy Weyrauch) giving us some cushion room. Because they were pressing and it was only a matter of time for them to probably get their second goal. But that third goal was huge, it was a mental deflator. We played so well tonight against a very talented Montclair team. I am so excited for them. They get the chance to go back to the final." - Donahue
THEY SAID IT
"They are a very strong team with really strong players, but we work well together, we have speed all over the field. We are able to connect with our technical ability." — Kaitlin Ardiff
"I think it is good that we are not one of those teams that starts yelling at one another. Even though that one goal went in, we came together, figured it out and figured out a way to end it." — Jenny Haskel
UP NEXT — Ridge will play for the Group IV Championship Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at TCNJ against Montgomery. This will be the third meeting of the teams this season. The first game was a tie, in the second, Montgomery defeated Ridge in the finals of the Somerset County Championships 1-0.