As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.
For the South Brunswick High School girls soccer team, the things they had been working on in practice leading into the season’s second month were showcased in a dominant 3-0 victory over Edison Tuesday afternoon.
Brielle Errico scored the game’s opening goal on a perfectly-placed through ball and nearly had a second goal when she hit the left post with a low line drive, two things the junior said that she and her teammates have been trying to get better at in practice.
“We were working on diagonals all week in practice and I saw that Taylor played a nice through ball and I ran into it, like we had practiced,” Errico said. “Once I had the ball, I saw that I was really close to the goalie so I knew I had to make a touch outside and I was able to hit it in.”
Taylor Brantely picked up the assist on Errico’s goal by sending the ball through a crowd in the middle of the field in the 9th minute. Five minutes later, Errico nearly had a second goal, but hit the post. She had worked the ball up the right wing and got enough clearance around an Edison defender to shoot a low, hard shot towards the post, but instead of the ball finding the twine, it clanged off and landed on the foot of Julianna Franco. Promptly, the sophomore tapped it home to put the Vikings up 2-0.
“I thought when I kicked it that it was going in,” Errico said. “I’m just glad that Julianna was able to tap it in.”
South Brunswick (4-4) held the majority of the possession throughout the game’s opening 40 minutes, connecting on passes and working the ball wide to avoid bunching up, something that head coach Beth Barrio noted was a point of emphasis in practice.
“I think that sometimes, we stress to the girls that it doesn’t have to be so pretty; they’re always trying to make that extra pass because they’re very unselfish players, but they’re trying to make that perfect ball to the perfect person at the perfect time,” Barrio said. “We’ve been stressing to them that they need to take the shot early and get the job done, no matter how pretty it is. So today, it was a bit of an opposite.”
Errico made multiple runs past Edison (4-4-1) defenders and could have had at least two more goals if not for some standout play from Eagles’ goalkeeper Kaitlin Marold.
The Vikings got an insurance goal in the 47th minute when Jenna Mastronardi popped home a goal from about 30 yards away, over the outstretched arms of Marold.
On a day where the ball was in the offensive half of the field for the majority of the contest, Barrio was proud of the way her defensive unit played in the few instances where they were pressured. As she said, it takes a whole team playing their best for the full 80 minutes to win.
“We are very happy with our defense game after game; they are warriors back there and they rarely get subbed out of the game. They communicate well and sometimes they get a little overshadowed because they aren’t forced to do a whole ton. To have a game like this is a nice boost for them,” Barrio said.