(Central Jersey) - The Real Central NJ Soccer (RCNJ) WPSL women’s team played an outstanding game at home, earning a 6-1 victory against Hershey FC on Thursday, June 30th. Players struggled to keep cool through the high temperatures at last night’s game but nonetheless, both teams put their all into the match and played through the heat. RCNJ stands in third place in the Mid-Atlantic Conference and came into last night’s match with seven goals scored and only allowed in three so far this season.
Real Central NJ and Hershey FC played with an equal amount of aggression and determination coming out of the gate. Ball possession and strategized plays were 50/50 at the beginning of the match. As the period progressed and RCNJ felt out Hershey’s playing style more, the attacking unit started creating scoring opportunities, with two shots finding the crossbar..
In the 38th minute, RCNJ’s “Player of the Match,” Kelli Collins flew past Hershey defenders straight through the net after a few touches from her fellow teammates and Hershey players inside the 18. Collins played a phenomenal game last night with quick thinking and a great hustle to the ball. Just six minutes later, Collins displayed a great reaction time when the ball started to bounce out of the box and sent it right back in over goalkeeper Grace Hoffman’s head in the 34th minute.
Collins went from a seamless assist in the last home match to scoring RCNJ’s first two goals on her way to a hat-trick in this one. “We have a lot of girls on the team so it’s not always the same group of girls playing together. We’ve been playing together for the past few games and I think tonight it was very clear that we’ve built a lot of chemistry,” Collins commented.
RCNJ’s backline of Sydney Watson, Alexandra Searing, Stella Kahn, and Jordan Mahony performed exceptionally when it came to protecting goalkeeper Jamie Skarupsy and sweeping the ball out of any dangerous areas in the box. The first period ended with a clean sheet for RCNJ, the score 2-0.
Coming into the second period RCNJ’s lineup was hungry for more goals and searched for opportunities up the field. In the 54th minute, Makenzie Rodrigues put her speed to the test in a race against two Hershey defenders to the box and shot to Hoffman’s left, giving RCNJ its third goal. Just minutes later Rodrigues stood unguarded in the box, lying in wait for the ball to come from one of her teammates. Rodrigues, wide open and watching a battle for the ball from Sophia Lis, received a quick tap from Lis in the middle and with one touch she sent the ball past Hoffman in the 59th minute. With about 30 minutes left in the second period, Collins and Rodrigues stood as possible contenders for securing a hat-trick before the match’s end.
Hershey FC continued to try for a goal for the duration of the match but with only two substitutes, they had to do so without the luxury of fresh legs and water breaks. Even with the constant advances to Hershey’s goal, the defenders worked tirelessly and did not make it easy for RCNJ. Goalkeeper Grace Hoffman put in her best effort and did not give up trying to save each shot taken at her.
In the 64th minute, Lis earned her first goal of the game and for the club, when she received a pass from her teammate Alexa Swetz