For the Ridge High School girls soccer team a familiar foe stood in their way for as they sought their first Group IV State Title. Unfortunately, the third time was not to be the charm as the Ridge girls soccer team fell to Montgomery 1-0 in the Group IV State finals Sunday night at The College of New Jersey.
Sunday night's game was the third meeting of these two Skyland conference rivals and as in their other two meetings the Red Devil girls could not get one past Montgomery keeper Rachel Ravitz.
Montgomery came out strong right from the start of the game getting
to all the loose balls and controlling the possession time.
"We came out a little too timid at the start of the game," said junior midfielder Gigi Cifelli.
"Montgomery has a very aggressive style," said head coach Katie Donahue. "They are always moving forward and were able to get to a lot of balls".
Just over 14 minutes into the game, Montgomery junior Colby Ciarrocca sent a pass to senior Catrina Atanda inside the penalty area box. Atanda was able to beat keeper Rachel Axt to the ball and defect the pass towards the unattended goal.
It turned out to be all that the Cougars needed as they made the lone goal the peg on which to hang their 1-0 win.
Midway through the second half, junior midfielder Gigi Cifelli put one off the football crossbar above the goal for the Red Devils' best chance of the night.
"I'm very proud of the girls. We had a great season. It says a lot about our
players and the program to be able to get to back-to-back state finals," said
head coach Katie Donahue. The team reached the finals over a 3-1 win over Montclair last week.
This was the Red Devils third trip to the State Group 4 finals having advanced to the championship game in 2011 and 2008. The Red Devils also made back-to-back Group 3 finals in 2003 and 2004, winning the Group 3 Championship in 2003.
"Tonight we showed that we can compete with anyone. We faced them three times this year and only gave up two goals," said Donahue summing up a season in which Ridge, and Axt, shut out many teams on their way to to finals game.