Photos by Steve Ellmore: Glen Ridge (white uniforms) vs. Verona, section championship game, Nov. 9, at Watsessing Park field.
GLEN RIDGE, NJ – Six-peat champs!
For the sixth consecutive season, the Glen Ridge High School varsity girls’ soccer team captured the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 state tournament championship.
Led by sophomore midfielder Tara Feenaghty’s hat trick, the top-seeded Lady Ridgers dominated the second half en route to a 4-0 win over 11th-seeded Verona in the championship game on Thursday, Nov. 10, at Watsessing Park.
The Ridgers, under 17th-year head coach Oscar Viteri, won their fourth straight game and sixth in seventh games to improve to a 14-3-1 record. It also marked the eighth straight season that Glen Ridge has reached the North Jersey Section 2, Group 1 state tournament championship game.
Glen Ridge will face Mountain Lakes – the North Jersey Section 1 champion with a 17-3-2 record – on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Indian Hills HS in the NJSIAA Group 1 state semifinals. The other Group 1 semifinal pits South Jersey champion Pitman against Central Jersey champion Shore Regional.
The NSIAAA Group 1 state championship game – which is the ultimate game – will take place Saturday, Nov. 18, at Kean University at 10 a.m.
Glen Ridge has appeared in the NJSIAA Group 1 state title game in each of the past two seasons and four of the past five campaigns, all against Shore Regional.
In 2012, Glen Ridge defeated Shore, 2-0, in the final. The following year, the teams played to a 1-1 tie and were declared Group 1 state co-champions.
Shore defeated Glen Ridge in each of the past two Group 1 state finals, winning 2-1 in overtime in 2015 and 3-2 last season, both at Kean University.
In the section final victory over Verona, Feenaghty broke a scoreless tie to give Glen Ridge a one-goal lead at halftime.
Glen Ridge broke it open with three goals in the second half. Senior forward Lindsey Jaiyesmi made it 2-0 and Feenaghty scored the final two goals.
Sophomore back Samantha Lovit and freshman forward Sydney Mansfield each had an assist, and senior goalkeeper Victoria Woznick made three saves for the shutout.
In the four section tournament games, Glen Ridge outscored their opponents, 23-0.
Glen Ridge also beat Verona, 3-0, at home in a division meeting on Sept. 12 in the second game of the season.
In Viteri’s 17 years at the helm, his Glen Ridge teams have reached the section final 13 times, winning eight titles. In addition to the sixth straight titles, the Ridgers won the section title in 2001 – Viteri’s first season – and 2007.
Glen Ridge won the NJSIAA Group 1 state title in 2001, in addition to 2012 and 2013 (co-champs).