Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Highlands Puts Loss in the Past

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Highlands Puts Loss in the Past

Article excerpt

TEANECK -- The stars of Northern Highlands sat on the bench in the second half of Tuesday's first-round state tournament game in Teaneck, not one bit of evidence suggesting they had just suffered one of the most difficult defeats of their lifetimes less than 24 hours earlier in the Bergen County tournament final.

Having jumped out to a comfortable lead in the first half, Highlands' high-profile players such as Hana Kerner, Casey Richards, Morgan Busacca, Ariel Somple and Kayla Klatt received some well- deserved rest. They cheered enthusiastically as their teammates put the finishing touches on a 3-0 win over the Highwaywomen in North 1, Group 3.

Though the Highlanders had their state-record 88-game unbeaten streak snapped by Immaculate Heart on Monday night, their national championship aspirations derailed, and their quest to four-peat as county champion fall one goal short in a physically grueling 2-1 loss, it was evident by their upbeat and enthusiastic nature Tuesday that they already had moved on.

"I think as a group, [Monday] night was difficult for some, and deep down, very difficult for all of them," said Northern Highlands coach Tara Madigan, whose team hadn't suffered a loss since Nov. 12, 2010, in the North 1, Group 3 final against Ramapo -- before any of the current members were in high school.

"Some had different ways of expressing those emotions. We told them over and over how proud we were of them. I mean, they lost a game. One game. Losing is a part of any athlete's life. It's just harder for these girls because they haven't experienced it.

"To go 88 games without a loss, that really says something about our program, especially being a public school. It's a difficult feat regardless of what school you're at, but that's a record I feel is going to be very hard to touch for any program."

It's a record that didn't come without its fair share of stars and leaders along the way. They have stayed in touch with the current group of talented and record-breaking Highlanders.

Richards, a junior Georgetown commit, arrived at Northern Highlands in 2012, and was immediately drawn to Clare Shea, Madison Holleran and Jackie Reyneke, who shared her midfield position. …

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