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Montclair's girls soccer team celebrates Group 4 state title after edging Hunterdon Central, 2-1, on Nov. 22, at Kean University. (Photos by James Lattanzio/Sportzdrop)

Montclair freshman Rebecca Van Siclen looks to gather ball after it ricochets off post in 20th minute against Hunterdon Central in what was a scoreless match at the time.

Van Siclen moves the ball from her knee to her foot and strikes it home into net

Van Siclen (21) prepares to hug freshman teammate Fiona Tubiana as Hunterdon Central players are obviously dismayed as Montclair scores goal in Group 4 final.

Van Siclen (21) was a top all-around player at left midfield with clutch scoring ability

The Montclair girls soccer team surrounds its NJSIAA Group 4 championship trophy

(continued from page 1)

“Rebecca was one of those players for us who never came off the field and was big late in games on a number of occasions,” said Rob McOmish, Montclair’s second-year head coach. “Like Fiona and Nora she came in as an accomplished club player (with Match Fit) and simply fit in right away, and was clutch on the big stage, which is where it’s most important.”

“She is a smart soccer player and already plays at a high level, which can only bode extremely well for a bright future as an impact player for years to come.”

Van Siclen remembers that first memorable goal she was able to strike in late September against Bridgewater, when sophomore forward Jillian Jennings delivered her a perfect pass for the game winning goal.

“I remember how much we all wanted to win that game, and how we talked about coming out and proving that we truly belonged among the elite teams in the state this season,” recalled the Mountie freshman left midfielder. “At halftime coach McOmish said that we ‘had to put two goals on this team,’ and we knew that we could get the job done and we went out and did it, and that win may have been a signature moment for us moving forward.”

She watched other teammates rise to occasion, including Tubiana, who had a big goal vs. Randolph in the N1G4 state sectional championship win, and then senior Sammy Masur who had two goals to beat previously undefeated Scotch Plains, 2-1, in overtime, in the Group 4 semifinals.

Steady seniors such as Lindsey Ewertsen, Amanda Romano, Lucia Surraco, Erin Silverman, Brittany Mack, Christina Caruso and Masur helped lead the way on the field during both the county and state championship tournament runs.

Each time, and with each tourney triumph, it always hit home how important the word ‘team’ really was for this 2014 Mountie girls soccer side.

“We all had to work hard no matter who would step up and score the big goal, and I never worried about not scoring at any time as long as we kept winning, and I knew I could count on my teammates,” continued Van Siclen. “We have just so many girls on this team who can score or make the important pass at any moment in a game, and I always knew that was the case, and it showed to be very true as we kept winning in the counties and states.”

In the Group 4 final vs. Hunterdon Central, Montclair did not start out with as much gusto as it had been showing in the early going, especially against Randolph and Scotch Plains, and Van Siclen’s goal, in the 20 th minute, was huge for her team to really get into full gear in the match.

Tubiana delivered a corner kick that ricocheted off the near post and bounced to Van Siclen, who took one touch with her knee and then was able to switch to her foot to fire the ball into the back of the net.

“The ball came off the post in a perfect place and I just gathered the ball off my knee and I knew I had to hit it hard so I did,” said Van Siclen. “At that point it just felt great to score a goal to give my team the lead, but we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us against a Hunterdon Central team that was so talented.”

Tubiana later scored off a nice cross from Van Siclen with just under 23 minutes to play and the Mounties made the 2-1 lead stand up with strong defensive play anchored by sophomore goalkeeper Gabby Isola, another of the young stars on the team.

For Van Siclen, the Group 4 state championship is a great notch in the belt of a budding young high school soccer star, but she also knows it took a complete team effort to get the job completed.

“To be a young player just trying to help contribute for such a great soccer program as we have at Montclair High School is like a dream come true,” she said. “I know the challenges will be great for us to maintain what we accomplished this fall, but I know that the girls coming back next year are excited at the opportunity to once again play together a close-knit group for some very good coaches, and it doesn’t matter whether we are freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors; we all have one objective, and that’s to be the best team we can possibly be.”

ATHLETE ANECDOTES- Rebecca has a twin sister, Samantha, who was a varsity reserve on the Montclair High field hockey team that won a sectional state crown this fall. The twins also have an older sister, Alexandra, who is a senior at MHS…Rebecca’s favorite pro soccer player is Didier Drogba, the exciting striker who once was an international star for the Ivory Coast National Team and has more recently been a standout on the Britain-based Chelsea team in The Premier League…Rebecca, who would like to play Division I women’s soccer some day, said her favorite college team is the University of Virginia, while she also likes to watch North Carolina and Fordham play…Rebecca is also a midfielder in girls lacrosse and will be a freshman candidate for the Mountie varsity laxladies this spring….Rebecca’s favorite local place to eat is Dai-Kichi on Valley Road in Upper Montclair where she enjoys the sushi.

Student-Athletes selected for the Sideline Chatter/360 Fitness Athlete of the Week award receive a free speed and agility session at the state-of-the-art 360 facilities located at 25 Greenbrook Road in Fairfield. For more information on all the sessions available at 360, call 1-877-787-0360, ext. 1005 or log on to http://wwwnj360fitness.com

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

Montclair's Rebecca Van Siclen (21) was a freshman who stood out in state this fall

Van Siclen looks to set up a teammate during Group 4 state final vs. Hunterdon Central

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