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MKA's Lily Pryor gets after the ball as Montclair's Nora Giordano (2) pursues play during the two neighborhood rivals' recent SEC match which saw the Mounties edge the Cougars, 1-0, in a hard-fought battle at Fortunato Field. (Photo by Doug Allen)

MKA's sophomore goalkeeper Arianna Jobst reaches for ball as Lily Pryor (7) looks to help out her fellow Cougar in girls soccer battle vs. Montclair. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

Montclair sophomore Stella Scott looks to direct ball vs. MKA. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

Montclair celebrates Madeline Adams-Gurrowitz goal (Photo by Greg Corbo)

MKA head coach Christie Welsh is expressive during timeout as she gives her team instructions in their battle vs. neighborhood rival Montclair. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

Montclair's Nora Giordano (2) battles with MKA's Megan Palmisano (12) as the action in front of either team's net was intense throughout match. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

Montclair freshman Claire Manning (20) has her shirt tugged as the action vs. MKA gets quite competitive as the two local rivals battled Sept. 14. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

Montclair's Rebecca Van Siclen (5) asks for explanation as play proceeds against MKA during entertaining SEC match played at Fortunato Field. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

Montclair's Madeline Adams-Gurowitz (12), who had the only goal, is dangerous in front of net as MKA keeper Arianna Jobst looks to corral ball. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

Montclair head coach Eric Weintraub talks to his Mounties (Photo by Greg Corbo)

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Riley and Hobbs, two of the top, up-and-coming defenders in the county, both played very well in the back against Montclair, as did Jobst, who is a keeper to watch moving forward in the season as MKA hopes to challenge in Non-Public B as well as in the ECT this fall.

The Cougars also boast solid veterans including senior co-captains Kerri McGuire (center midfielder) and Dani Golden (right back).

The versatile junior Lily Pryor, who starts at left midfield, moved to the backline for the end of the first half and all of the second half until the final five minutes when she was thrown forward again and MKA played with three backs.

Montclair, with standouts such as senior tri-captains Rebecca Van Siclen, Jillian O’Toole and Nora Giordano, still have a very solid talent base to work with; plus, there is a definite infusion of fresh immense skill level on the rise with five sophomores and eight freshmen on the 22-member varsity roster.

“I think our team is learning how to play better together,” said Weintraub. “We are a young team and our underclassmen are now playing with greater confidence.

“We need to improve on finishing and playing the entire eighty minutes at a high level.”

The Mounties’ head mentor was impressed with the effort put forth by MKA in their Sept. 14 th Super Essex Conference match.

“They were physical and never let up,” he said.

MHS, which has also edged Caldwell, 4-3, and Newark Academy, 2-0, defeated West Essex, 4-1, Monday (Sept. 18) and travels to meet a strong Nutley side on Wednesday (Sept. 20).

MKA edged Bloomfield, 2-1, on Monday and visits private school rival Newark Academy Friday.

“We still have some issues as a team defensively in terms of communication,” said Welsh. “I think Montclair exposed us in this area at times.

“Typically, on the offensive side, we like to possess and being able to mount an attack without that comfort of having a large portion of possession is something I pushed at halftime. I think we made some great changes at halftime and came out hard.”

Now, MKA, Montclair and Livingston, along with others such as Caldwell and Glen Ridge, will look to play well as the jockeying for position for the upcoming ECT continues.

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

Montclair's Rebecca Van Siclen (5) is defended by MKA's center back Alexis Riley (2) as the two local rivals battled it out in recent SEC match. (Photo by Doug Allen)

Montclair's Evelyn Battleson-Gunkel (6) tries to work her way inbetween MKA's Ally Raff (left) and Alexis Riley (2) during the exciting SEC match. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

Montclair's Kirdon Jones (11) and MKA's Alexis Riley contend for soccer ball as the action was intense throughout the Sept. 14 girls soccer match. (Photo by Greg Corbo)

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