MOUNT OLIVE _ It was a convincing win, one in which West Morris dominated in every way.
Wolfpack coach Courtney Barnett, no doubt, didn't want to be critical about her team's play after a 5-1 Morris County Tournament quarterfinal win over Montville on Saturday, Oct. 8 but couldn't help but notice that the passing was ragged and didn't flow at times.
Normally, that wouldn't be a major concern as long as the result was a victory. However, with two games against Roxbury looming, including an MCT semifinal, Barnett, although pleased to advance in the tournament, was quick to mention the lack of fluidity.
"We played well in spurts," Barnett said. "I don't think there was a lot of continuity in our play. We didn't usually have more than two passes. We'd pass and kick it. Pass and give the ball up."
Top-seeded West Morris (12-1) managed to get the ball down the field often enough for senior left wing Skylar Migliaccio to record her first hat trick of the season. Migliaccio tallied the first three goals and Faith Spaziano struck for two second-half scores to earn the Wolfpack seniors their third trip to the MCT semifinals.
"It's really exciting to show up and keep playing our game," Migliaccio said. "We're glad to move on. It's an honor to be in the top four. We've worked hard and it gives us a good shot to succeed."
As for the passing, Migliaccio, too, felt that it was a bit off.
"Our passing sequences were good when they were there," she said. "We kept up the talk and motivated each other. We were winning but never stopped being on the offensive."
Migliaccio converted 9:15 into the first half off a pass from Sarah Bietka, deflecting the ball into the left side of the goalcage. With 10:27 left before halftime, Migliaccio used a reverse-stick maneuver and lifted the ball, putting West Morris up, 2-0. She completed her hat trick with 6:55 remaining before the break.
The defense, led by Erin Rubright and Jackie Drzewinski, did its part, surrendering only its third goal this fall. Emily Egan made five saves for West Morris. Montville's Ally Yu scored the first goal of the second half, connecting 9:06 after the intermission. Spaziano then struck twice in the last 13:21. Drzewinski and Bietka had assists.
"I felt like I didn't have my best first half," Rubright said. "It was a little rough. Everyone picked it up for me. We all stepped up on defense. We had good communication."
Montville coach Jackie Hinz said there simply was no solution for Migliaccio.
"We couldn't mark No. 1 (Migliaccio)," Hinz said. "She's an animal. She kept pounding them home."
The Mustangs are coming along after losing eight starters from the 2015 team.
"I'm proud of Ally for getting a goal because West Morris hasn't had many scored on them," Hinz said. "We're waiting for our newer girls to step up. We'll get there."
West Morris, which outshot the eighth-seeded Mustangs, 24-7, and had the advantage in corners, 15-3, will face the familiar Gaels on Monday, Oct. 10 in a NJAC-National Division game. Five days later, the Wolfpack will meet Roxbury in the MCT semis. On Sept. 10, West Morris shut out the Gaels, 2-0.
"It's awesome to be in the semifinals," Rubright said. "We just need to be consistent against Roxbury. We're going to have to work really hard."
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