MARTINSVILLE – The second semifinal of the Somerset County Tournament seemed to be under control for Montgomery, as the Cougars held a 2-0 advantage heading into the final two minutes of play. But Emery Sorvino found the back of the Montgomery net, giving the hosts a glimmer of hope and giving Cougars’ head coach Tiffany Trockenbrod fits on the sideline.
“We were thinking ‘just get the ball up the field and get it to the flags and let’s make them chase it,’” Trockenbrod said afterwards. “We fought really hard as a team and we fought together and that’s something we got better at as the season went along.”
But after her defense kept the ball away from Pingry’s offense for the final 86 seconds,Montgomery was finally able to celebrate a 2-1 victory, which sends them into the SCT championship game against top-seeded Bridgewater-Raritan next Saturday.
“We haven’t played them since 2010, so the kids are looking forward to it,” Trockenbrod said. “We really want to play them; they want to play anyone, really. So it doesn’t matter to us who we play, because it’s the first time we’ve made it to the county finals, so the girls are really happy. I’m really proud of them for that.”
Montgomery got on the board 12 minutes into the first half when Erica Hrudowsky banged home an Allison Mannheimer pass, through the legs of Pingry’s keeper. The Cougars had a chance to extend the lead minutes later, but a shot bounced just wide of the net.
The game was 1-0 at halftime, but not without Pingry getting a few chances to tie the score. The Big Blue earned six corners in the first half, but were unable to do much with their opportunities, turning the ball back over to Montgomery on multiple occasions.
Coming out of intermission, the Big Blue turned up their offensive pressure, carrying the ball for most of the first 10 minutes of the half, but the Montgomery defense stepped up time after time to thwart any scoring chances.
Then, with 11:41 remaining, Montgomery seemed to put the game out of reach when Mannheimer knocked home a goal of her own, beating multiple defenders to a loose ball in front of the Pingry net. Caiomhe Tyndall picked up the assist on Mannheimer’s tally.
The Cougars’ defense helped finish it out from there, setting up the matchup with Bridgewater-Raritan for all the marbles next weekend. Trockenbrod knows her team will have to come out with a superior defensive effort to dethrone to high-powered Panthers’ attack.
“We’re going to have to play tough defense and our goalie is going to have to have a huge game [for us to beat them],” Trockenbrod said.
The SCT Championship Game will be played at 2 p.m. at Mount St. Mary Academy in Watchung.