by Andrew Garda
GLEN RIDGE – Montclair High School field hockey team advanced to the Essex County Tournament finals with a 1-0 overtime win over Glen Ridge.
The final goal came on a shot by Missy Wrede in the middle of the overtime period. 2-seed Glen Ridge had been in possession of the ball in the Montclair end, but the 3-seeded Mounties were able to clear it downfield.
A second pass put the ball past the Glen Ridge defender, and Wrede found herself with it and a clear angle of attack on the net. She evaded another defender and fired off a shot which went between the keeper’s legs and into the goal for a win.
The game had been a closely played one, with both teams pressuring each other’s goaltenders for minutes at a time. MHS would have several shots that just didn’t quite find a home in the back of the net, and then GR would do the same.
Anjali Abram repeatedly came up big for the Mounties, helping the team deny GR on their corner attempts time and again. She was also very vocal in her encouragement and direction of her team, making sure they knew where they were supposed to go.
The team had to handle overtime without the services of Eve Naturale, who had taken a ball to the mouth at the end of the first half. Naturale gutted it out for the second half, but coach Mary Pat Mercuro kept her on the bench for overtime, though Naturale would likely have come in if the Mounties needed a push.
Now the Mounties have a week to prepare for 1-seed West Essex, fresh off an impressive 7-0 win over Montclair Kimberley Academy. West Essex had a bye for both of the first rounds of play and have dominated play this season, putting together a 14-1 record.
MHS will have their work cut out for them on the Knights home-field next Saturday at 2:30.
For full coverage of this game, including player and coach quotes as well as a look at the upcoming game against West Essex, check out Thursday’s edition of the Montclair Local and MontclairLocal.news.