Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Frosh Propels Park Ridge

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Frosh Propels Park Ridge

Article excerpt

PARK RIDGE - At the start of the soccer season, Dana DiBella said she was "nervous" and "a little intimidated."

The smallish freshman was a Park Ridge newbie and struggling to fit in.

"I'd never played with older girls before," DiBella said. "I'd mess up sometimes and think, 'Oh ... I'm not as good as them.' "

On Tuesday, DiBella was as good as anyone on the field as she led the Owls to a 4-1 victory over Emerson in the North 1, Group 1 semifinals. DiBella was the match's standout performer, as she scored one goal and assisted on two others.

Top-seeded Park Ridge is seeking its first sectional crown since 2006 and will host No. 3 Kinnelon in Friday's final.

"Starting out the season, Dana was a little timid," Park Ridge coach Molly Jaffe said. "It's been awesome, watching her improve every single game, and it all came together today.

"She's really come out of her shell."

On Tuesday, Park Ridge got two goals from junior Nicole Thomas, one from freshman Claudia Segovia and stellar defensive play from Callie Bohus, Katrina Stangl and Kelsi Stangl and goalie Kelly McCann.

After dominating first-half play, the Owls finally broke through just before halftime. Segovia crossed the ball from the right side and, after the Cavs goalie got tangled up with a defender, DiBella controlled it with her left foot and then poked it in with her right.

Just after halftime, Emerson tied it, somewhat shockingly, when center back Melanie Whited boomed a 40-yard free kick to the far post and Erin Bartel headed it in. …

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