Montclair State Gains Revenge Win over TCNJ in NJAC Finals


Montclair State and The College of New Jersey met in the New Jersey Athletic Conference women’s soccer final once again as the local grudge match earns another iteration in its history. TCNJ has a prolific NJAC history as they have won all but four NJAC titles since 1996 going into this contest. The only times they did not come away with the title was in 2012 (Montclair State), 2008 (Rowan University), 2004 (MSU) and 1998 (William Paterson University). As impressive as that is, that’s only under the new name of The College of New Jersey. They have also won numerous times as Trenton State College as well.

The scoring kicked off in the 20th minute as TCNJ took a 1-0 lead off of Elizabeth Thoresen’s sixth goal of the season that went into the upper-left corner of the goal. TCNJ looked to keep the lead over Montclair State but in the 31st minute, Daniella Greco leveled the score at MSU Soccer Park with a second-chance effort after the ball smacked off of the crossbar.

The game would fail to see another goal in regulation as the matchup moved into extra time yet again. Last season, TCNJ defeated Montclair State University at MSU Soccer Park in the NJAC Finals on penalty kicks. The College of New Jersey pressed hard in extra time with numerous shots and chances but goalkeeper Gina Policastro played tough in what could potentially be her last game as a Red Hawk.

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As the game moved into the second overtime, still standing at 1-1, there wasn’t too much action in terms of shots. Both sides did have a couple of chances that were not serious. As the time expired on the second overtime, the two teams found themselves in penalty kicks yet again.

TCNJ could not convert the first attempt as Montclair made them pay as they converted their first attempt. MSU would end up missing their second attempt to tie up the penalty shootout. After both teams converted their third kick, TCNJ could not get the goal as Thoresen could not find the goal this time around. Martin Landeka converted Montclair’s fourth kick and put TCNJ on the ropes. Gina Caprara missed her attempt and Montclair State came away with the revenge win in penalty kicks after suffering the same fate in the finals last year.

Montclair State women’s soccer earns an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament and TCNJ will have to play the waiting game.

Going into this game, it certainly looked like the loser of the final would receive and at-large berth into the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament. Going into this week’s action, both teams were ranked high in the NCAA South Atlantic Regional Rankings, the main source of the at-large criteria. Montclair State came into this game second in the region, with TCNJ ranked third. There isn’t a minimum or maximum amount of at-large berths, however, and there are a lot of criteria to be analyzed.

The selections will be made on Monday, but stay tuned to Playing for 90 for more NCAA Division III coverage going into this year’s tournament.