The forward combination of Ellie DiLiberto and Sydney Rosa is a dangerous one for the East Brunswick High School girls soccer team, and is a duo teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference should take note of.
DiLiberto and Rosa combined for five first half goals on Saturday in leading the Bears to an easy 6-1 victory over their Red Division foe Piscataway in a rematch of last year’s GMC Tournament final.
DiLiberto, a senior, started off the scoring effortlessly, scoring on an unassisted strike into the lower right corner of the net just 15 seconds into the game.
She scored again in the eighth minute before Rosa, a junior, collected three consecutive goals in the 13th, 17th, and 31st minutes for the hat trick as East Brunswick (4-0-1) led 5-0 at the time.
The two feed off of each other and work well as a combo up top.
“We work really hard to make our runs and we just kind of know where each other goes,” DiLiberto said. “We’re not selfish players, we want each other to get the goals. We don’t really worry about our (stats) and who’s getting more goals and who’s not. We just want to win the game and that’s what we look for the most and sometimes (Rosa) has a shot and I’m just like take it.”
As they’re now playing together for their third season on varsity, the confidence the two have in each other is a key to their success.
“We have trust for each other, so if (DiLiberto) has the ball I trust her with it and I know she’s not going to be selfish and we do what’s best for the team,” Rosa said.
DiLiberto and Rosa however have had to make a significant adjustment this season – the Bears have switched from a three-forward alignment to two forwards with the graduation of 2012 Home News Tribune Player of the Year Natasha Ntone-Kouo, who is now paying at the University of Maryland.
The move from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 has forced DiLiberto and Rosa to be even more reliant on each other.
“It was definitely hard coming in from having a great Division I prospect up top and having three forwards because we were always used to staying on one side and not making so many runs, so we weren’t out of breath as much,” DiLiberto said. “Now it’s like it’s only me and Syd so we really have to make those diagonal runs, and it’s difficult. The first couple of games it was rough and we were just kind of confused and we lost some of our confidence, but we had to practice it and keep going at practice.”
“And I think the whole team has really stepped up,” Rosa added. “The whole defense has stepped up and our mids have gotten us the ball better and I think everyone’s just really been on their A-game and we just have to keep going good.”
Piscataway (3-3) scored its lone goal in the 36th minute when sophomore Danielle Grant pried a ball partially out of the hands of Bears goalkeeper Alex Kalafor and put a shot into an open net.
Katelyn Roughan capped off the scoring for East Brunswick when she fired a free kick into the upper right corner in the 68th minute.
Kalafor made six saves while Chiefs goalkeeper Jaqueline McEvoy stopped 11 shots, as East Brunswick held a 21-8 shot advantage.