After falling to Randolph 1-0 back on Sept. 12, the West Morris girls soccer team entered Wednesday’s game determined to even the score against its rival. That’s how the game eventually ended, in a 1-1 double overtime tie in a pivotal game in the battle for the National Division.
The tie was the first for both teams this season and the second double overtime game in as many days for the Rams (6-2-1), who defeated Parsippany Hills 4-3 on Tuesday night.
“We knew that this was going to be a hard game, being that we beat them the first time,” Randolph senior defender Rachael Lieberman said. “They’ve always been our rivals and we knew that coming in it was going to be a very challenging game.”
West Morris scored its goal towards the end of a first half that saw the Wolfpack constantly on defense in their zone trying to keep the Rams from scoring. Randolph outshot West Morris 5-2, but the Wolfpack had the 1-0 lead at the half.
With 13 minutes 8 seconds to play, West Morris scored on a corner kick. Junior midfielder Madison Williams took the kick and found senior defender Kendall Ballotti, who headed the ball towards the net. Randolph goalie Rachel Fennell made the save but deflected the ball back out, where senior midfielder Christina Hein corralled it and scored for the 1-0 lead.
“Randolph’s always our toughest competitor so we got ourselves mentally prepared for this game, we knew what we had to do, we knew coming into it it was going to be like that,” Ballotti said. “Madison Williams and I usually somehow always connect on those and we just got lucky, it bobbled and Christina Hein put it in which was awesome.”
The Rams evened it up with 17:15 left in the game when Lieberman took a pass from junior defender Maria Fairfield and found the back of the net to tie the game.
“We just keep going, keep fighting, we’re not the team to give up, when they score we come right back,” Hein said. “As soon as they scored, I think we actually started playing better. As soon as they scored we turned it up another notch.”
The second half was more evenly matched, with Randolph only outshooting West Morris 3-2. The Wolfpack took only one shot during the first overtime period, while the Rams were held to no shots and both teams took only one shot in the second overtime.
Wednesday’s game was the last time during the regular season these two teams will face one another. But there is a chance that top-seeded Randolph and No. 2 seed West Morris could face each other in the Morris County Tournament, or even states. If that were to happen, expect a showdown not unlike Wednesday’s game, a game that Fairfield summed up perfectly, “Big competition, always has been, probably always will.”
|West Morris (8-1-1)||1||0||–||1|
GOALS: (WM) Hein; (R) Lieberman. ASSISTS: (WM) Ballotti; (R) Fairfield. SAVES: (WM) Webb 10; (R) Fennell 5.