by Andrew Garda
While it wasn’t as tidy or dominating as Montclair High School girls soccer coach Eric Weintraub wanted, the Mounties got the job done with their 2-1 win over Mount St. Dominic Thursday afternoon.
MHS scored early in the first half, as Kirdon Jones found the back of the net off a pass from Rebecca Van Siclen. The Mount focused on the dynamic Van Siclen throughout the game, leaving other players less well covered.
“If that’s the way teams want to play us, hopefully Kirdon can keep stepping up,” head coach Eric Weintraub said after the game. “And if teams don’t mark [Van Siclen], then hopefully she’ll punish them.”
Jones was one of those players, and she was often seen streaking downfield in pursuit of the ball and pressuring the defense.
“[Jones] played up top [and] she hustles all the time,” head coach Eric Weintraub said after the game. “She hustles in practice, she hustles in games. She deserves to play and she’s a hard worker. And she’s fast so that definitely helps.”
On her goal, Jordan broke open in the middle of the box and put the ball past the Mount St. Dominic keeper.
Jones kept up the pressure and the Mounties had more scoring chances but couldn’t quite find the back of the net. Meanwhile The Mount was able to build more and more pressure, continually peppering keeper Amelia Platt.
Finally, with the ball ping ponging around in front of the net, one of the St. Dominic forwards kicked a not-quite-bicycle kick over her head and sent the ball into the goal.
“As I’ve been saying all year, we need to score more goals and we can’t give up soft goals,” Weintraub said. “We have to make the other team earn their goals. And I feel like we’ve given up a lot of soft goals this year.”
The two teams entered halftime deadlocked at 1-1.
The second half found the Mounties continuing to up the pressure, with Jones again flying downfield after balls sent in by the MHS midfielders, often colliding with defenders on her way into St. Dominic territory.
Finally, Jones ricocheted the ball off the goalkeeper, who was well away from the net, sending it to freshman Sydney Masur. With nothing but an empty goal in front of her, Masur tapped it in for what would end up being the game-winning goal.
While the Mounties ended up with the win and an 9-2 record, and remain undefeated in their division, Weintraub isn’t content. He sees plenty of room to improve.
“I just want us to be more consistent,” he said. “Again, I’ve been saying this all season. We haven’t played a full game, we’ve played in spurts. At times we look great, and at times it looks like we don’t know what’s going on.”
Consistency, more than anything, will be critical in the upcoming county and state tournaments. But for a young team, consistency can be an elusive thing, and the Mounties are certainly a young team.
They are also a hard-working team, according to Weintraub, one that is willing to look at their mistakes and learn from them.
“The girls are working hard and we’re gonna figure it all out. We’re just going to be positive and try to get better every day.”
The Mounties have two more games left in the regular season, but those aren’t the critical games awaiting them. Tournament time is here and with a 9-2 record, the Mounties should find themselves in a prime position entering the county tournament.