Soccer

Ava' D'Esposito's early goal seals North Rockland's win over Suffern

Suffern's goalie Morgan Tamburro (00) blocks a shot from North Rockland during girls soccer game at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

Suffern’s goalie Morgan Tamburro (00) blocks a shot from North Rockland during girls soccer game at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

Suffern's Tatiana Cruz (14) and North Rockland's Ashley Morales (16) battle for control of the ball during girls soccer game at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

Suffern’s Tatiana Cruz (14) and North Rockland’s Ashley Morales (16) battle for control of the ball during girls soccer game at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

North Rockland's Ava Desposito (18) scores a goal during girls soccer game against Suffern at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

North Rockland’s Ava Desposito (18) scores a goal during girls soccer game against Suffern at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

Suffern's Abby Bosco (5) and North Rockland's Phoebe Mullarky (26) battle for control of the ball during girls soccer game at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

Suffern’s Abby Bosco (5) and North Rockland’s Phoebe Mullarky (26) battle for control of the ball during girls soccer game at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

North Rockland's Ava Desposito (18) celebrates her goal with her teammates during girls soccer game against Suffern at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

North Rockland’s Ava Desposito (18) celebrates her goal with her teammates during girls soccer game against Suffern at North Rockland High School in Theills on Sept. 21, 2016.

THIELLS – There was a playoff atmosphere from the moment North Rockland and Suffern stepped onto the field.

North Rockland’s Ava D’Esposito scored in the sixth minute off a corner kick, and the Red Raiders let their defense do the rest as they won 1-0.

“They’re very good on defense,” said Suffern head coach Phil Madonia. “That’s exactly the kind of game they want to play, a low scoring one.

While the defense for the Red Raiders was impressive, they know they have work to do on the other side of the ball.

“We need to improve on offense, which I think we’re doing.” captain Brianna Williams said. “The last couple of games we’ve been scoring more goals, which will be really good for us going forward because our defense is so strong. “

North Rockland, a team that graduated several key players from last season, is trying to keep its thoughts on the present.

“We’re really trying to focus on what we have as a team and not on who we lost from last year,” Williams said. “This was a huge win for us, and we’re starting to play really well as a team. “

Playing well as a team is a key concept for North Rockland going forward, as they look to be a major threat come playoff time.

“We’re playing really well as a team. We’re moving the ball great,” North Rockland head coach Pete McGovern said. “I’m really proud of how the girls played together.”

Player of the game: Naya Rivera was all over the field for the Red Raiders. Every time a ball was up in the air, she was nearby. She set her teammates up for several shot attempts with long throws and well-placed passes.

Turning point: The corner kick to set up the D’Esposito’s goal in the sixth minute was the turning point in the game.

“I really have to talk to my girls about free kicks,” Madonia said. “When you play these high-level games, often the game comes down to a free kick, or in this game, a corner kick was the difference.”

Stat Line: North Rockland’s Jenna Braunagel made 13 saves, while Suffern’s Morgan Tamburro made 11 saves.

Quotable: “Our girls in the middle played great today,” McGovern said. “Brianna Williams, Halle Strieter, Jenna MacMillian, and Ava Desposito all played really well.”

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