DENVILLE _ Whippany Park's primary objective is to be competing for a title in November.
That's why the Wildcats' 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Morris Catholic on Friday, Sept. 23 - most definitely one of the most monumental in the history of the program - wasn't accompanied by a wild celebration.
There were no signs of over-the-top jubilation. There were cheers, of course, from fans in the stands. Coach Marc Device, who exchanged high fives or shook hands with his players, prefers it this way so the Wildcats, no doubt bursting with pride, were subdued.
"In the context of the season and in the big picture, it's a good win," Dovico said. "Morris Catholic is a quality opponent. I can't recall the last time we beat them. We temper our reaction to wins. What we want most is to be playing in two months."
That appears to be a strong possibility for Whippany Park, whose decisive goal was scored by sophomore Olivia Cashen eight minutes into the second half. Four minutes earlier, Jess Murphy tied the score, 1-1.
It was the second goal of Cashen's career, fittingly set up by a cross pass from senior Silvana Poulter, the school's all-time leading scorer, male or female.
"This was an important game to win," Cashen said. "I know we hadn't beaten them in awhile. We all tried to keep going, to keep our intensity up. We couldn't give up. We had to fight to get goals."
After attaining the lead, the Wildcats (6-1) had to toil to hold the Crusaders off. Morris Catholic had its moments, especially over the last 11 minutes, spending lengthy stretches in Whippany Park territory.
That's when the defense was tested. Left back Brianna Vogt, right back Danielle Strashinsky, sweeper Devon MacArthur and stopper Natalie Turok were unyielding, frustrating Morris Catholic. Goalkeeper Kate Matrisciano finished with four saves.
"We kept our composure," Vogt said. "We did a lot of talking. We were asking "Who's marking who?'" We kept everyone marked and cleared the ball. I only got nervous when the ball was in the air. Then it can go either way."
Facing a deficit at halftime did not deter the Wildcats. They kept fighting. They knew they could rally because they had done it before.
"We were down against Parsippany and the girls responded well," Dovico said. "We can put the ball in the net. The girls were able to get it done."
Cashen, who stands 5-feet tall, broke the deadlock after a shot by Murphy went off the hands of Morris Catholic goalie Gabriella Maggio and a defender. She got a foot on the carom and put the ball in the right side of the goalcage from 12 yards out.
Dovico was not one bit surprised by Cashen's pluck with the score tied. After playing on the freshman squad last year, Cashen, a shortstop and pitcher for the softball team, was brought up to varsity. With Poulter hampered by the efforts of Morris Catholic's Danielle Mills, Cashen saw an opening and converted her lone shot on goal.
"There are no secrets about Silvana," Dovico said. "She's still able to create. Mills was there and there was always an extra set of eyes on Silvana. Olivia has great promise. We promoted her last season and she earned a starting spot this year. Olivia has great vision and is unique in size for being a center midfielder."
Murphy, a senior center forward, had an excellent game for Whippany Park, which tied the Crusaders, 2-2, in October 2014. Her goal was assisted by Turok. Morris Catholic (5-2) gained a 1-0 lead on Bailey Chant's goal with three minutes remaining in the opening half.
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