Junior midfielder Emily Vitale was all the offense the Morris Hills girls soccer team needed in the first round of the North 2 Group III Tournament on Monday.
Vitale scored unassisted with 10 minutes 13 seconds left in the first half to give the fifth-seeded Scarlet Knights (11-6-2) a 1-0 victory over No. 12 Chatham.
“We had a free kick and I heard Casarah Morales say, ‘Emily,’ so I made a diagonal run, it went through the wall, I just tried to take a touch around the goalie and finished,” Vitale said. “I was so excited, I was shocked. I couldn’t speak.”
Monday was the second time this season Morris Hills and Chatham have met. The two teams opened the season against one another with the Scarlet Knights taking a 1-0 victory.
“I was expecting a great game because last time we played them we beat them 1-0 and they have more heart than I’ve ever seen on a team and I knew they’d come out flying,” Morales said. “We knew that they had speed up top and they were going to be aggressive, so we just kind of went on that. Any team can come out any way every day so it just depends.”
Morris Hills started the game strong and seemed to control the ball more in the first half. Chatham started to come alive in the second and took the majority of its shots on goal. But Morales and the Scarlet Knight defense continuously shut them down.
“I think sometimes we get flustered after halftime and they came out flying,” Morales said of the Cougars. “But once we relaxed, we had them beat.”
Next up for Morris Hills is fourth-seeded Governor Livingston, which beat No. 13 Parsippany Hills 5-2 on Monday. Chatham ends its season at 6-13-1.
“They played well, they played hard,” Chatham coach Christopher Mazurkiewicz said. “We did a lot of good things, one little goofy breakdown and unfortunately we payed for it. I told them at the end of the game, we started out as one team and they finished a completely different team. Considering the conference we play in, the difficulty of our schedule, I’m really proud of the team that they became this season.”
|Morris Hills (11-6-2)||1||0||–||1|
GOALS: (MH) Vitale. SAVES: (MH) Hill 3; (C) Maltby 10.