Girls Soccer: SPF’s Road Woes Continue, Scoreless Tie Against Cranford


Matthew Levine

Scotch Plains tied Cranford 0-0 as their struggles on the road continue.

Matthew Levine and Joe Kaplan

It’s been over 160 minutes of soccer played on the road and 14 days since the girls varsity soccer team scored their last away goal. 


Since the Raiders ended in a 1-1 tie away at Summit on Sept. 21, the girls have been shut out on the road posting 0-0 ties against both Westfield and Cranford, respectively. Their home to away goal ratio is a staggering 17-1, as the Raiders (4-3-3) road struggles continued Tuesday afternoon against the Cranford Cougars (5-4-1) in a 0-0 tie. 


“The kids played hard, we did some good things and some bad things,” head coach Kevin Ewing told The Fanscotian. 


A lack of opportunities and questionable decision-making in the final third when given favorable field-position and goal-scoring chances prevented SPF from finding the back of the net. 


“[We’re] just looking at better ways to attack, we are not always attacking intelligently and so we got to fix that,” Ewing said when asked about what the team needs to improve on. 


Ewing sees the Raiders’ struggles on the road as a consequence of playing good teams. However, between Scotch Plains’ high preseason ranking, their reputation as one of the premier programs in the state and being the number two seed in the Union County Tournament, the returns from this season have been underwhelming. 


Until the Raiders start stacking wins, questions as to if they will be able to compete for a county title or even a deep state run will follow them. 


“It’s gonna be tough because like every team — I think Cranford’s got the five seed, so everybody’s even, it’s anybody’s game,” Ewing said. 


Although the Cougars did not do enough to come away with a victory, they did more than the Raiders, hitting the post 12 minutes into the game and nearly scoring off a gorgeous ball that was hit over by a Cranford forward in the 68th minute. Cranford also outshot the Raiders 12-4. 


Senior and University of Tennessee commit Leah Klurman was held in check by the Cranford backline while battling minor injuries. Halfway through the first half, Klurman moved from her attacking midfield role to the striker position and that was when the game changed — her absence in the midfield allowed the Cougars to dominate the midfield for the remainder of the game. 


 “We know she’s faster than their defense, I mean, a lot of our kids are but we weren’t using it to our advantage,” Ewing said. “We had kids faster than their backline, but we were playing underneath them and that was a mistake.”


Instead of Klurman using her elite speed and strength to drive at defenses, most of the time she received the ball, she had her back facing the goal and SPF failed to generate threatening chances that allowed Klurman to run into space. 


Of the Raiders past 12 goals scored, Klurman has assisted or scored on all but two of them. It remains to be seen if the Raiders can flourish offensively without Klurman’s contributions. 

The Raiders next game is Wednesday Oct. 13 against an undefeated Hunterdon Central team that is ranked number five in the state.