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***Pennington demonstrated its potent ground game in controlling the ball while notching impressive win at MKA in independent game!

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***In a rare Union against Essex soccer match Cranford's solid 'D' was vital in edging Columbia, 1-0. Read more about the competitive showdown in "Feature Articles"

***Irvington has one of the more talented football teams you'll find in the state this season and even with several miscues in the win at West Orange, the defensive unit was impressive. Read "The Buzz"

MKA's center back Sarah Hobbs (17) battles Montclair's veteran star Rebecca Van Siclen for possession of the ball as the Mounties were on their way to earning hard-fought 1-0 decision over Cougars in recent Super Essex Conference girls soccer contest. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

Might An Upper Tier Trio Be Established
As Essex Girls Soccer Season Takes Shape?
Montclair, Livingston & MKA Could Be Top 3 Teams To Watch in 2017 ECT

By Steve Tober

If there was an overriding factor to taken away from the recent Montclair vs. Montclair Kimberley Academy closely-contested match it’s perhaps that as the Essex County Girls Soccer Tournament nears perhaps an upper tier trio of teams to watch is being established.

The Mounties (5-1), who were throttled by state power Westfield, 4-0, this past Saturday (Sept. 16), after edging MKA, 1-0, in their neighborhood battle on Thursday (Sept. 14), appear to be headed toward a probable top seed in an ECT they have owned with 15 titles, although Livingston edged them, 1-0, in last year’s county title tilt, and 3-2 in the North 1, Group 4 state sectional final.

Montclair, under second-year head coach Eric Weintraub, had to reload somewhat this fall as graduation hit and several new, talented younger players were inserted into the lineup, but it did begin the season with a 3-2 triumph over Livingston, which was without star center midfielder Tori Belcuore, who was sidelined with an injury for that early-season match.

When at full strength with standouts including Belcuore, forward Kayla Parsons and goal keeper Nicole Kwoczka, Livingston is one formidable side, but so should be both Montclair and a young and burgeoning team on the rise in MKA.

Caldwell and Glen Ridge are among the other strong teams to keep an eye on with the ECT seeding meeting still a few weeks away (Oct. 10th at Mount St. Dominic) with the Round of 16 slated for Oct. 19, quarterfinals on Oct. 21, semis, 5 and 7 p.m., Oct 25 at Millburn and the final, 7 p.m., Oct. 28, at Caldwell.

While it lost to the Mounties as Madeline Adams-Gurowitz scored off a rebound with 20:00 left in the second half, MKA (4-1-1) took many positives away from its recent top-notch regular-season performance against its public school neighbor.

“The game was great for us,” said MKA second-year head coach Christie Welsh. “Montclair’s attack posed so many athletic threats and challenged our young center backs (sophomore) Alexis Riley and (freshman) Sarah Hobbs, as well as our (sophomore) goalkeeper Arianna Jobst.

“I was so proud of how our team stepped up and competed relatively equally with a group that on paper should outmatch us. A game like this brought our girls up to another level and our hopes as a coaching staff is that we see that level of intensity brought to upcoming games.”

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