Steinert Girls Soccer center back Nicole Pappas battles against Jackson Liberty. Photo by Michael A. Sabo.
By Rich Fisher
Oct. 28: As usual, it was a stellar defensive effort as the Steinert girls’ soccer team opened its quest for a sectional title with a 2-0 win over Jackson Liberty in today’s NJSIAA Group III central first-round game.
Maddie Klein was the offensive star with a goal and an assist, but it was the Spartans defense that helped make Klein’s goal and an assist count for a victory. Outside backs Sophia Laico and Brielle Spadola, who came off with an injury but later returned, and center backs Nicole Pappas and Morgan Hart helped shut down an offense that had scored 16 goals in its previous three games. Goalie Kat Calle earned the shutout with six saves.
“We did a really good job closing their wide down and their up-top people down,” Klein said.
It was business as usual for the backs, as Steinert recorded its ninth shutout of the season.
“They’ve been doing it all season,” coach Mike “Stinger” Hastings said. “We knew that going into the season. We had some experience coming back on the defensive side; that was our strength last year, we just didn’t score any goals. This year’s team is scoring a few more goals and we eclipsed last year’s win total and hopefully, we can keep going.”