Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Freshmen Lead Ridgewood Past Mahwah in Penalty Kicks

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Freshmen Lead Ridgewood Past Mahwah in Penalty Kicks

Article excerpt

RIDGEWOOD - If anyone had doubts about the future of the Ridgewood girls soccer program, those fears should have been eliminated by the play Sunday of two bright prospects on the Maroons' roster in the Bergen County tournament quarterfinals.

Ridgewood, the No. 12 seed, got huge performances from goalkeeper Britt Cunningham and midfielder/forward Allie Landino to get past No. 5 seed Mahwah via penalty kicks after the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie after regulation and two overtime sessions.

Both Cunningham, who had nine saves in a stellar outing, including two in the second overtime period, and Landino, who scored her team's lone goal in regulation and added one in the penalty kick portion, are freshmen.

"We have a lot of young and inexperienced players," said veteran Ridgewood head coach Jeff Yearing. "But we have players who we can hold on to for a while and help the chemistry that we're trying to build. It's outstanding that they're already contributing to us as varsity players."

Cunningham, who also displayed a powerful leg in getting the ball out of her zone, made a diving stop with nine minutes left to keep Mahwah at bay, then made another sensational stop with 4:19 left, but nothing like the two she made on Mahwah's Sarah Jordan in the second overtime.

Jordan scored the Thunderbirds' lone goal on a breakaway with 6:44 remaining in regulation.

Michelle Silva made seven saves for the Thunderbirds, including a big one with 1:30 left in the first overtime.

In the second overtime, Cunningham slid to stop one of Jordan's shots with 1:54 left and made another save with just seconds left before the penalty kicks began.

"I've been in these situations before," said Cunningham, mentioning club soccer experience. "I just handle the pressure. I zone out the crowds and block out everyone to get it done."

Cunningham then made one diving stop on a penalty kick to help the Maroons advance to next week's semifinals. …

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