Ewing, NJ… A header from Hannah Richman (Egg Harbor Twp., NJ/Egg Harbor) with just over 21 minutes remaining provided the only offense in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship Final propelling The College of New Jersey women’s soccer team to their first conference title since 2013. The second-ranked Lions defeated Montclair State University 1-0 Friday night to secure their bid in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. TCNJ remains undefeated at 18-0 on the season, while the Red Hawks fall to 10-5-5.
Both sides experienced a bit of a feeling out period in the first half with only a single serious threat coming from TCNJ. Devon McDonough (Monmouth Beach, NJ/Shore Regional) lofted a shot that was just out of the reach of Red Hawks Goalie Phoebe Bledsoe. The shot rang off the cross bar and the Red Hawks ended the scoring opportunity. Bledsoe made five saves in the game.
The Lions slowly built the pace of play in the second half, Jessica Goldman (Belle Mead, NJ/Montgomery) found the ball at her feet for a majority of the half and would eventually make a flawless cross that Richman headed home. The assist is the 27th in the career of Goldman, placing her in a tie for fourth most in Lions history.
The back line of Kelly Wieczerzak (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley), Ally DeRiggi (East Hanover, NJ/Hanover Park), and Jen McGrogan (Pompton Plains, NJ/Pequannock Twp.) played nearly flawless in front of Nicole DiPasquale (Paramus, NJ/Paramus). TCNJ allowed just three shots in the game and none of them were on target. DiPasquale recorded her 11th solo shutout of the season and the team has recorded 16 clean sheets on the year.
TCNJ out-shot Montclair State 15-3. The Lions earned eight corner kicks to just one for the Red Hawks.
The win marked the 500th victory in the career of head coach Joe Russo. Russo is the fourth women’s soccer coach to achieve this milestone and just the second to do so at the Division III level.
TCNJ will learn their first round opponent in the NCAA Tournament Monday afternoon at 1:00 PM as the entire NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed on the NCAA.com web stream.
SOURCE: TCNJ Athletics Press Release