Girls soccer holds Ramapo to one goal in the Bergen County Soccer Tournament

by Abby Weber and James Stewart

Bergen County expected a crushing defeat for the Glen Rock girls as they faced Ramapo in the second round of the Bergen County Soccer Tournament on Oct. 6, but the #17 seeded team held Ramapo, and their multiple college-commits, to only one goal.  

This game was a second round matchup in the tournament– both Ramapo and Glen Rock had byes in the preliminary round. The Panthers did have a first round matchup on Sept. 29 versus the #16 seeded Academy of Holy Angels, who the Panthers defeated by a score of 2-1. Ramapo, as the #1 seed, had another bye in the first round. 

Despite the 0-1 losing score of the Ramapo game, the Glen Rock girls, led by captains Maggie Sullivan and Sarah Nebbia, felt content. 

“Other teams usually get beat by them 4-0, 6-0,” said Lauren Patasnik, Rock’s starting forward. Ramapo, coached by Sarah Francini, has a 18-1 record in the Big North League. 

The lone goal of the game came shortly after the second half began, when a free kick from Ramapo’s Ella Onal sailed towards Glen Rock’s sophomore goalie Sophia Pappalardo. As Pappalardo attempted the save, Ramapo forward MaryClare Langan made contact with the goalie’s left shoulder, bringing Pappalardo to the ground. As Pappalardo attempted to recover, a tap from Ramapo’s Lily Johnson bounced over the goalie’s back and into the center of the goal. 

The play sparked uproar amongst Glen Rock players, who argued that the collision from Langan counted as goalie interference. 

“I would’ve yelled at the refs,” Patasnik said after the game. 

Even after the goal, Glen Rock was determined to continue their fight to victory. 

“We didn’t get discouraged,” said junior midfielder Sarah Jennings. “We kept fighting and didn’t stop competing.” 

Glen Rock’s competitive mindset and never ending determination was cultivated by long practices with their new coach, Steve Grenz. Grenz, who recently coached his 300th career winning game, prepared the girls by holding long practices every day after school. Along with practicing shooting, ball skills, and defensive tactics, Grenz would make the girls study film and create plays against Ramapo’s stellar offense and defense. 

The result of the grueling practices was shown by the girls during the game on Ramapo’s home field, especially by the defensive backs and goalie, Sophia Pappalardo. The multiple attempts on Glen Rock’s goal were hindered by defenders Jillian Luftman, Julia Correy, Rylie Duncan, and Maeve Williams. Ramapo players Langan, Mary Cochran, and Ava Vignone all had opportunities to score throughout the game, but found it difficult because of Rock’s defenders. Pappalardo made ten saves. 

Patasnik said that the Glen Rock girls “didn’t care if we won or lost, we just wanted to be able to say we played a good game.”