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(Central New Jersey) Monday, June 18, 2024 — Real Central NJ (RCNJ) suffered a hard-fought loss against the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals - Liberty (PHI) 3-1 at the Ukrainian American Sports Center. After going up 1-0 early in the first half, they let up three goals and were unable to make much noise for the rest of the game. 

“We went up one to nothing and then conceded two goals off of two of our own mistakes, which were probably based on nerves,” Coach Brian Thomsen said post-game. “But I thought, in the second half, the game plan we put together was working. We had two good opportunities to score that we probably should have put in the back of the net. Overall, we were better in the second half together, and I’m excited for our game on Friday.” 

Photo Credit: Gillian Baker


  • RCNJ - Josie Stockett (Bella Miller) 15th minute: Miller passed the ball across the box and found Stockett on the opposite side of the pitch for the game's first goal. PHI 0, RCNJ 1

  • PHI﹘Gianna Rivera (Abby Fitz) 27th minute: Fitz played the ball over the top, Rivera beat RCNJ's keeper Maddie Miller. PHI 1, RCNJ 1

  • PHI - Gianna Rivera 29th minute: Rivera found the ball after it was knocked around the penalty box and put it past the keeper. PHI 2, RCNJ 1

  • PHI - Gianna Rivera 72nd minute: Rivera sent a long-free kick to the far post that Miller got her hand to but could not stop. PHI 3, RCNJ 1

The player of the match was Maddie Miller. In a game full of shots, Miller was able to put together a solid performance against a strong, attacking Philadelphia team. 

“Some girls that don’t normally step up did,” Coach Kim Maurer noted. “Having girls step up that they don’t normally do is nice because you can put them in positions they don't normally play in and have them do pretty well. 

The game saw its first bit of action in the ninth minute as the Ukies got a shot on goal off a quick move into the box. The shot was easily saved by RCNJ’s keeper, Maddie Mille. 

Both teams became more confident as the game progressed, with RCNJ getting their first look at goal in the twelfth minute. The shot came from Brooke Steel as she received a ball that was played to the middle of the field, took a touch, faked a shot, and ripped the ball to the left side of the goal. The Ukrainian Nationals’s keeper made a miraculous diving save to prevent a goal. 

Photo Credit: Gillian Baker

With such a promising previous look, the Real Central NJ women were able to strike first in the fifteenth minute. The goal came from Josie Stockett off a pass from the opposite side of the box by Bella Miller. With the keeper having a lot of ground to make up, Stockett was able to tap the ball in as the keeper could just not recover in time to put RCNJ up by one. PHI 0, RCNJ 1

The RCNJ women continued to attack Philly’s backline as Sophia Miller received a ball crossed into the box from the deep right corner of the Ukies' third. Miller took a turn and sent a shot to the near corner, but it was saved. 

The Ukrainian Nationals began to attack in a flurry. In the twenty-fifth minute, they had a shot on goal, which was saved by Miller. 

Then, in the twenty-seventh minute, they scored the equalizing goal off a long ball played over the top from the midfield to their attacker, who beat Miller as she attempted to attack the ball deep in the penalty box. PHI 1, RCNJ 1

In the twenty-ninth, the Ukies scored the go-ahead goal after the ball racketed around the box following a couple of shots and misdirected passes from both teams, which put Maddie Miller in a hard position to chase the ball around. PHI 2, RCNJ 1

RCNJ attempted to even the game in the thirty-seventh with a shot from Kaylin Johnston just outside the box, but the shot was sent low and saved by the Ukie’s keeper. They also had a chance in the forty-third, but Josie Stockett’s shot from inside the box was batted away by the keeper. 

Coming out of the half, the Real Central women were able to put together some quality attacks but were unable to make anything happen until the sixty-first minute when they got the first shot on goal of the second half. Abigail Najdzinowicz passed the ball up to Morgan Kotch, who took a beautiful touch into the box and took a shot that was just wide enough to bounce off of the far post for what would have been the equalizer. 

In the seventy-second minute, the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals scored their third goal off of a long free kick that Miller got a hand to but could not stop it from going into the net. PHI 3, RCNJ 1

Real Central NJ continued to attack, as Phoebe Merrigan took a shot in the seventy-fifth from a switch that saw the ball wide and to the outside of the penalty box. Merrigan received the ball, cut in, and ripped a shot that was saved. 

RCNJ’s late-game adjustments were not enough to give them the edge to pull out the win as they fell 3-1 to the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals - Liberty. 

The next match is a USL2 home bout against West Chester United on Wednesday, June 19th, at 7 PM at Rider University’s Ben Cohen Field. Purchase match-day tickets and season passes on the Real Central NJ Soccer website.

Real Central NJ’s next WPSL game is an away match against West-Mont United on Friday, June 21st, at 7 PM at The Hill School. Stream it here on the Real Central NJ website.



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