With almost a week off after her team’s season opening victory over Montville, Mendham head coach Robin Meyh was a little worried her team might come out rusty for Tuesday afternoon’s game against Roxbury.
But the Minutemen calmed those feelings early, riding three first half goals to defeat the Gaels 3-0.
“I was concerned that we had the time off,” Meyh said. “But the girls came to practice and really challenged each other hard during the week.”
One person who wasn’t concerned with the break was senior captain Erin Morris, who said the time off was actually good for her team.
“It was kind of nice to have a break, especially after the Montville win,” Morris said. “It gave us a boost to keep practicing and growing. I think the week off was actually helpful.”
Morris made it hard to argue when she helped Mendham score their first two goals of the game, both off penalty corners.
At around the 18:30 mark Morris took the pass to start the corner and found fellow senior Brooke Tolley, who entered the game a few minutes earlier, on the top right of the circle.
Tolley let loose a shot to the back left corner of the cage that eluded all Roxbury defenders and found the backboard for a 1-0 lead.
Just a few minutes later the Minutemen added a second goal when Morris found sophomore Sam DiMaio in front of the cage on another penalty corner and DiMaio was able to push a shot past defenders to add to the lead.
The success on the corners wasn’t something that Morris or her coach found surprising.
“We have a lot of options on corners this year and there are a lot of girls with a lot of confidence,” Meyh said. “We are excited about our corners.”
“Every practice we practice corners and we work really hard at it,” Morris added. “So, when it pays off in a game it definitely gives us confidence.”
Mendham added a third goal with about nine minutes left in the first half when DiMaio found junior Carrie Molnar in front of the cage with a long pass and Molnar took advantage beating the Roxbury goalie and ending a dominant half for the visitors.
After a halftime of adjustments, Roxbury gained a bit more control of the game, threatening the Mendham defense a few times including a salvo at the eight minute mark that ended with four saves from Mendham goalie Grace Tino but were unable to get on the board.
The second half play gave Roxbury coach Diane Naugle-Douglas something to build on with her young team.
“It is progress,” she said. “They showed the ability to make an adjustment in their game and change what they are doing and to see a different result. That is really what you ask with for a young team every day.”
“What we take from this is that we were not good in the first and better in the second and we have still have ways to change our game to meet opponents.”
Meanwhile, Mendham now must deal with something that hasn’t happened recently as they look to build on a successful start.
“We haven’t had a start like this in I can’t even remember how long,” Meyh said. “So, I think it will generate some excitement for the girls and have them continuing to work hard.”