No. 11 Montclair State Tops No. 3 TCNJ in Battle of Unbeatens
Montclair, NJ – Sophomore midfielder Shawna Grabowski (Woodbridge, NJ, Woodbridge) headed in a corner kick in the 70th minute as Montclair State won the battle of the unbeatens with a 1-0 win over The College of New Jersey at MSU Soccer Park on Saturday evening.
The Red Hawks (9-0-0, 2-0-0 NJAC) picked up just their fourth win in 31 all-time meetings (4-25-2) with TCNJ, but for the first time own a winning streak in the series as Grabowski once again did in the Lions with the game-winning goal. Last season Grabowski scored the game-winner in a 1-0 overtime win in Ewing.
Kendra Grifith (Cherry Hill, NJ / Cherry Hill West) had seven saves for the Lions (8-1-0, 2-1-0 NJAC).
Both teams came into the game with national rankings. TCNJ was ranked third by D3soccer.com and fourth in the National Soccer Coaches Association Top 25 while Montclair was tabbed 11th by D3Soccer and 25th by the NSCAA.
The contest took on a tournament-like feel as neither team could get much going in the first half. MSU's Gina Policastro (East Brunswick, NJ, East Brunswick) and Griffith each had one save early and Griffith added another with 1:45 left as the teams played to a scoreless 45 minutes.
The action would pick up in the second half with the Red Hawks getting two solid chances in the 56th minute. Francesca Gibson (Cape May, NJ, Lower Cape May Regional) tried to tap in a pass from the right side that Griffith smothered on the ground. The ball bounced out to the left side and was picked up by Melanie Greco (Bridgewater, NJ, Bridgewater-Raritan) who tried to beat Griffith back to the near post but Griffith was able to make the recovery keeping the game scoreless.
Three minutes later the Lions came within inches of taking the lead as Shannon White (Fairfield, NJ / West Essex) fired a ball from the top of the box that banged off the crossbar.
Griffith would come up with two stops on Gibson and Greco later in the half before Montclair State found the back of the net at the 69:40 mark. Senior Allison Wacker (Stockholm, NJ, Wallkill Valley) placed a perfect corner kick to the top of the six yardline where Grabowski headed the ball past a diving Griffith inside the left post for her third tally of the year.
TCNJ would get its chances late. The Lions sent a ball through left side of the box that was rundown by Christine Levering (Robbinsville, NJ / Robbinsville). Levering moved with 10 yards on the left side however her chip shot went just over the crossbar with 11:12 to go.
New Jersey's final chance came with 1:48 to play as Christina Roach (Cinnaminson, NJ / Cinnaminson) collected a ball at the top of the box but that shot sailed high.
Policastro registered her fifth shutout of the season.
Montclair State outshot the Lions 11-7 and had a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Both teams are off until Wednesday, October 2 when they return to action with NJAC contests. Montclair State is at Rutgers-Newark for a 7:30 pm game while the Lions head to Camden, NJ to face Rutgers-Camden at 7:00 pm.