MADISON _ Maggie Cotter has a lot of players to look up to but the way the Morristown-Beard freshman has been playing, she may be viewed to as a role model for the Crimson soon.
Cotter scored on a rebound in the 60th minute to lift Morrristown-Beard to a 1-0 triumph over Madison in girls soccer action on Saturday, Sept. 19 on the Madison turf.
Goalie Lizzie Sengle stopped five shots to lift the Crimson to 3-1 on the season. The Dodgers dropped to 1-3.
Cotter has four goals this season. Morristown-Beard has six freshmen starters and, from the very beginning, they have been instructed to play well beyond their years.
"Considering the players we graduated and what we brought in, the transition was smoother than we expected," Morristown-Beard coach Dennis Jackson said. "We have an enjoyable environment where everybody works hard. We've become organized as a unit and we've come back quicker than we hoped.
"We need our freshman to come in and not play like freshmen. They are varsity starters. They are 14-15 years of age but they have to come in and be good. They are playing with a good level of confidence."
The influx of youth has also forced the few returning seniors like standouts Dani Kabat and Cami Calafiore to play with a little more poise and patience.
"I try to keep my anger in a little more," said Kabat with a smile. "It's so important for me and Meg (Damstrom) and Cami to lead by example by our voice and our actions because so many of them look up to us. We're so much older than they are. You have to have a little bit more leadership."
Madison was a little less dangerous without their standout, Bailey Hurst, but much more was expected from the Dodgers, who returned most of their group from last year. Madison had opportunities but never put together a run that seriously threatened the Morristown-Beard defense and Sengle.
The only score came off a direct kick chance and an alert play from Cotter. Sarah Bregna's kick from about 35 yards out was high and to the left side of the crossbar. It threatened to slip under but Madison keeper Mika Lesham got a hand on it to tip it away. Cotter was ready to make a play.
"I was so happy when she took that shot," Cotter said. "I thought it went in at first. I almost started celebrating. I just followed through when I saw it."
Cotter ran in from the left side and got her left foot on it from about six yards out.
"That rebound typifies her game," Jackson said. "That she was more alert and more determined to get to that ball than anybody else doesn't surprise me."
Cotter's game is a little different than her standout sister, Kristy, who is now playing soccer at Columbia. While Kristy excels with her size, physical presence and strong foot, Maggie utilizes different skills to succeed.
"Her footwork is a little bit better," Jackson said. "She is incredibly tenacious. She can play both sides of the ball, which is important of a high-level center midfield player. She makes an impact in both directions."
With a 3-1 record and another winnable game on Tuesday, Morristown-Beard is hoping to draw a good seed in the upcoming Morris County Tournament. The seeding meeting for the event is on Thursday.