Editor's Note: The following Travel/Competitive Division game summaries were submitted by the Lawrence Hamnett Soccer Association.
U-9 Lawrence Leopards
The Leopards had a hard fought road game against a very good opponent in the Lumberton Crush. In the first half, the Leopards experimented with a number of players trying new positions for the first time. As a result, the Leopards played somewhat tentative during the initial period, allowing Lumberton to control the ball and flow of the game – falling behind for the first time this season by a 2-1 score.
After halftime adjustments were made, the Leopards were much more aggressive and were able to dominate play and possession in the second period, ultimately coming away with a hard fought 3-3 tie. Mackenzie Esposito continues to power the Leopards offense by racking up two goals while Brianna Audet added one of her own. Heads-up play from fullbacks Maggie Gronenthal, Emily Chess, Sophia Denarski, Isabella Garcia and Nikki White made it difficult on Lumberton's strikers to take a shot. The tenacity of midfielders Isabelle Flemm and Yahaira Lopez created scoring opportunities for the Leopards.
U-14 Lawrence Flames
After taking a few tough early losses in the season and multiple girls sustaining injuries, the Lawrence Flames came out with a win and fantastic shutout for keeper Nelle Evans in a 1-0 win over the Franklin Township Cougars. The game began with only twelve Flames dressed as Flannery O’Donnell, out with an injury, encouraged her teammates throughout the game and then speedy Sophie Slutzky going down with an arm injury just before the half, left the Flames with eleven on the field. Knowing they had no subs, the tenacity and physical stamina of forwards Kelsey Holt and Haley Skove helped set up Kinsey Ratzman for the lone goal of the game.
It was pure aggressiveness till the end as mid-fielders Jenna McGrath and Lauryn Jodoin set the tone early for the physical level of play, and defenders Katie Smith, Susi Dapprich, Madison McNulty and Lisa Smith demonstrated outstanding containment on the Cougars to allow minimal shots to be taken. Regular goalkeeper Ashley Shutack took a break from her duties and played amazing as a defender for most of the game. With just enough players on the field to get the job done, many players rotated through different positions to get the rest they needed to help maintain the shutout for Evans.
U-10 Lawrence Sharks
The Sharks hosted West Orange Eagles in their home opener and they were not very hospitable. The Sharks led by goalkeepers Aidan Kane and Foster Wakeman was able to hold the Eagles scoreless for their first shutout of the season. The defensive play of Jack Collins, Ian Wang, Harry Lazelle and John Caccavale proved to be too much for the boys from West Orange.
The Sharks relentlessly created many opportunities for their attackers Ben Cohen and Joey Briggs as the midfield play of Justin Krisak, Freddie Young Jr. and Devon Meth was super. The boys were able to methodically pass the ball around the Eagles defense. The pressure continued until the 27th minute when Krisak gained possession of the ball in the middle of the pitch and found Young Jr. wide on the left touch line. Freddie Young Jr. gathered the ball in and served a cross to the far post where Michael Kemo was able to get his foot on the ball and buried it in the back of the net to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
The boys from Lawrence wasted little time getting their second goal. Two minutes later the Sharks were pressing the back line of the Eagles when Kemo found Trevor Stio in front of the goal. Stio first timed his shot past the diving goalkeeper for the second goal of the match. At the break the Sharks were out in front 2-0.
A determined Shark team came out of the intermission and continued to control the play. Some creative passing by the boys helped continue the offensive attack. The Sharks were able to push through the defense and hammer shot after shot on the West Orange goalkeeper. It wasn’t until the final minute of the game when the boys were able to get the ball to Jack Collins on the endline, Collins brilliantly cut the ball back across the goal and found Zachery Young. Young redirected the ball for the third and final goal of the match. The 3-0 win improved the Sharks record to 2-0-1.
U-13 Lawrence Charge
In a match of force between the Lawrence Charge and Cranford Rush, the prize was sole possession of first place. The Charge set the tone early with two quick goals, and charged in to halftime with a 2-0 lead. The first goal and eventual game-winner came off a breath-taking individual effort by Christian Fang. The insurance goal was delivered by Kyle Schuler with a volley after a goal-line scramble.
The boys marched out at halftime without missing a beat, and controlled the pace of play by combining well in the midfield and using the width of the field. Ethan Crutchley open up the scoring with his third goal of the season, and Eric Broadway rounded out the game with a scorcher; after beating the defender he unleashed a rocket that evaded the diving grasp of the keeper. After Sean McLaughlin went down with a shoulder injury following a hard and fearless tackle (that he won), Logan Hillegas stepped in and patrolled the keeper area for a solid 45 minutes before giving way for Aidan Jodoin to preserve the shut-out. All three keepers were vocal in organizing their defense and calling for the ball.
The midfield was dominated by creative and unselfish play of Luke Annand, Joseph Giuliano, Estuardo DeLeon, Hutch Collins and Hakim Hachicha. The defense was anchored by the ever dependable Patrick Franceschini combined with the strong leadership of Dylan Pawar and Kieran Humphreys. With their combined speed and tenacity, Ryan Monahan and Adam LeCompte put constant pressure on the opposing defense to cause turnovers and miss-played balls. The Charge has cracked the table open like a nut by scoring three times as many goals in just three games as the next closest team.