After a season in which the Randolph girls soccer team was named co-Morris County Tournament champions and National Division champs, the next title in their sights was the North 1 Group IV sectional final.
Sadly, the fourth-seeded Rams couldn’t get past third-seeded Livingston and fell 1-0 in the sectional final on Thursday.
The Lancers (16-3-2) won their first sectional title since 2010 when they defeated Randolph 3-0. The last three seasons they’ve advanced to the final, only to fall to Montclair in 2011 and 2012. The Rams defeated top-seeded Montclair 1-0 in the semifinals on a goal by junior forward Katja Brackelmanns-Puig.
“I can’t be more proud of my team to stick it out all the way to the state sectionals,” senior midfielder Anna Conklin said. “We had a goal this season to get three titles and I’m really proud of my team that we were able to get here.”
Livingston scored its lone goal early when senior Kylie McLoughlin took a free kick from about the 25 yard line. There was a scrum in front of the net and senior Alyssa Egner got a foot on the ball and sent it into the lower right corner for the 1-0 with 35 minutes 43 seconds left in the first half.
“Goals happen,” Conklin said. “It was a good free kick and they took advantage of it in the first five minutes of the game, those are the most dangerous goals.”
Randolph outshot the Lancers 6-2 the rest of the game and a number of chances to score with the majority of them coming from Conklin.
In the first half Conklin was awarded a free kick, but the ball bounced off a defender and Livingston was able to clear it out. In the 51st minute Conklin sent a kick over the net and and five minutes later she blasted a shot directly in front of the net and straight into the arms of senior goalie Samantha Rothenberger. Conklin’s last shot with 12 minutes to go bounced off the right post.
“We battled to the very end, I missed some opportunities and that will probably be in our heads for the next couple of months,” she said. “I always kept saying, I don’t want to put my head down because I would get mad when I miss a goal, so there’s always a next time, there’s always a next time, there’s always a next time but it didn’t happen, I couldn’t get it.”
The Rams finish a season to be proud of at 18-3-2 with 13 shutouts. They advanced to their second-straight and 17th overall MCT final and claimed a share of the crown for their 11th title.
“(This team will be remembered) definitely as a legend,” Conklin said. “I think we did a really good job with this senior class and this team is like no other team Randolph High School has ever had.”
GOALS: (L) Egner. SAVES: (L) Rothenberger 5; (R) Fennell 2.