EAST HANOVER _ When everything around her looked chaotic, junior goalkeeper Kristina Kalafsky took the situation in stride.
Her confidence was a major reason Kinnelon tied Hanover Park 0-0 in a game between two non-conference foes on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
Kalafsky made 10 saves for the Colts (3-1-1). Junior goalkeeper Chrissy Cosenzo made a pair of saves for the Hornets (3-2-2).
Hanover Park, playing on the school's new artificial turf field, put the pressure on Kinnelon and had numerous opportunities to score. Although the Colts' defense struggled at times, Kalafsky always came up with the big save or directed a smart play.
"She has played excellent," Kinnelon coach Steve Racine said. "We had a lot of confidence in her, even last year. She is growing every game. She is very calm. She is learning to take charge back there. She is really athletic and she has the potential to be an outstanding goalkeeper."
Kalafski was on varsity last year but, like many of her teammates, this is her first year as a starter.
"We put a lot of fight into it," Kalafski said of the contest. "I'm glad we came out with a tie. We knew to come out hard and strong. We had to stay together as a team."
It's been a year of adjustments for the Colts. They lost seven starters from last year and had to rebuild their entire defense. The offense has been helped with the transfer of Sarah Racine from Morris Catholic to play for her father. However, an offseason bout of mononucleosis and a hip injury in the spring has set her back a bit.
"She has a whole different level of responsibility on this team," Racine said. "She is learning and there is a lot of pressure on her."
Kinnelon was coming off a surprising 5-0 loss to Mountain Lakes and had not kicked a ball, even in practice, since last Wednesday. The possibility of a viral disease at Kinnelon High forced the suspension of all afterschool activities for several days until it was determined there was no threat.
Hanover Park, which had lost two of its last three games, controlled the balance of play and won plenty of 50-50 balls with its aggressiveness. However, the Hornets couldn't put the ball in the back of the net.
The performance of Hanover Park junior midfielder Gabby Barquin really stood out. She is a strong, decisive athlete who is very efficient when the ball is on her feet. A few of her lefty kicks came tantalizingly close to hitting net.
Kalafsky made several game-saving stops. One of the best came with about 10 minutes remaining in regulation when she came off her mark to knock down a Hanover Park shot attempt and then a teammate helped her to corral a rebound effort which was in danger of getting tapped in.
"I just thought 'I'm not going to go down,'" Kalafsky said. "I was just so happy that Paige Hanley came behind me and I scooped it up."
The defenses stiffened in the overtime as neither could muster a dangerous shot on goal. Kinnelon was relieved to earn the tie and gain some more experience together on the field.
"We have a tough schedule early in the year because we want to play these athletic teams," Racine said. "We don't have a ton of depth and we have to learn how to play before championship season starts. This was a good test."
Last modified onWednesday, 05 October 2016 05:06
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