Girls Soccer: Raiders Go to Westfield for a Scoreless Tie


Joe Kaplan and Charlotte Gumpel

It was a game filled with close opportunities. 


Nonetheless, SPF played a hard-fought, scrappy game that was down to the wire against the 7-0 Westfield Blue Devils on Thursday, Sept. 30 which brought their record to 3-3-2. This was the latest battle between the cross-town rivals as the two will surely meet up again with the County tournament nearing. 


“We’ve been a work in progress all year and we’re starting to hit our stride a little bit and play a little better,” Coach Kevin Ewing said. “And, I think it showed today, you know, we had a little bit better in play, but we gotta put the ball in the back of the net.”


While they didn’t receive an increase in the loss column, a win is something that the Raiders were striving for. Marching their way into Westfield territory, the Raiders were looking to even the series between the Blue Devils. 


“It’s funny, because last time they dogpiled on our fields like they won a state championship,” Goalie Rebecca Kessler said.


“Obviously it’s better than a loss, but we still want to win,” Ewing said. “I mean we played well enough to win, but we didn’t score, and that’s a credit to Westfield.”


Ewing gave credit to the Westfield Blue Devils as they had the Raiders beat on the close opportunities throughout the game. The Raiders fought hard late with many free-kick and corner kick challenges from Senior Leah Klurman as well as Junior Gia Milano. 


The scoreless game was not a win for the Raiders, but the team is already looking forward to improving for their next match-up and a possible rematch in the county tournament.


“I am never satisfied with a tie – we definitely earned a win today – but we for sure humbled them on their own field,” Kessler said. “Not satisfied with the result, but there is always next time. We’re coming back and winning.”


Despite the result, there was much to celebrate about the team’s performance. 


“We definitely were the better team – we worked the ball harder and I think it’s one of the best games we’ve played all season,” Junior Katie Ramalho said. “We got possession most of the time and we just didn’t get to tap in on that, but I feel like we definitely dominated the game.”


Coach Ewing mentioned what the team must focus on in order to add to the win column. 


“Just a few more shots on goal,” Ewing said. “We didn’t take enough shots, and just other people looking to create for us.” 


Game Ball: Kat Zikas


While no one on both sides was able to put the ball in the net, much of the defensive credit has to go to Kat Zikas who was able to defend the backline extremely well and make sure no Westfield opponent had an advantage over her. 


“The whole backline is excellent,” Ewing said. “It’s probably one of the fastest backlines I’ve ever coached, and they’ve been improving a lot, and they’re going to keep on improving.”


Zikas was a crucial part in making sure Westfield wasn’t able to turn that tie into a loss. 


The SPF Lady Raiders will look to add a win to their record this Saturday as they look to play the Governor Livingston Highlanders who are 5-1 this Saturday at 2 PM at home.