In 2011, a group of nine freshmen on the Montclair State women’s soccer team traveled to Stevens Institute of technology to earn their first win. On September 13th 2014, they returned to that field as seniors, competing in their last season as Red Hawks.
When the group played Stevens as rookies, they battled with the Ducks for a 2-1 victory. However, this year’s game showed the growth and improvement the team has seen over the years, as they blanked Stevens 3-0.
“Freshman year we won in overtime,” said senior forward Frankie Gibson, “so if feels good to win by three.” Gibson said she loves to play away at Stevens because the atmosphere of yelling fans pumps her up.
Senior Captain Jess Bonjione explained how head coach Patrick Naughter spent time remising on the 2011 win before the Red Hawks took the field on Friday.
“I got so emotional,” Bonjione, said, “it’s an unreal feeling that four years ago was my first game here.”
The Red Hawks lit up the scoreboard in record speed, when Janae Geonnetti connected with teammate Martina Landeka on a free kick. Landeka headed Geonnetti’s feed into the back on the net and the Red Hawks took a 1-0 led only seconds into the game.
“It actually was funny,” said Landeka, “because at the beginning of the game Janae said she was going to assist me.” Landeka explained that right before Geonnetti sent her feed, she pointed at her head, letting Geonnetti know where she wanted the ball.
The first half remained 1-0 despite the amount of fouling and aggression the game saw. Stevens recorded two yellow cards and 13 fouls in the game, but MSU tried their best not to get caught up in the intensity.
“As captain I went up to people and talked to them individually,“ said Bonjione, “I said be calm, relax, and get back to what we do best.”
This played a role once again in the second half, when Montclair’s Melissa Koster was fouled inside the penalty box. Although nervous, she put the ball away on a penalty kick at the bottom right side of the net.
“We’ve been working all week,” said Koster, “so to get this win, it was awesome.” She explained that adrenaline helped her get through her penalty kick moment.
The Red Hawks would put one more on the board after a through ball from midfielder Shawna Grabowski set up Jennie Hornstra for a breakaway. She sprinted through three defenders to tuck it right past the hands of Stevens’s goalie, Lindsey Mahnken.
Montclair State currently holds a record of 5-1. The girls lost their first game this season by being edged my John Hopkins 2-1. On Saturday will hit the road to play New Jersey City University.
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