CINNAMINSON--- Beating a divisional rival twice is only a small step on the path Rancocas Valley wants to take this season.
The Red Devils knocked off Cinnaminson, 2-0, to earn their second BCSL Liberty win over the Pirates on Thursday.
“The last couple years it’s always been a huge fight, but we haven’t been able to come out on top in both games,” RV senior Ashley Orendac said. “Being able to be undefeated in the division so far is crucial for the playoffs and everything.”
Orendac provided the Red Devils with their first of two second-half goals with 20 minutes left on the clock, as she tapped in a deflected shot at the right post.
“We really needed one so just being able to get forward was crucial for us,” Orendac said. “I think that was hard for us the entire game, getting a lot of bodies forward so being able to be right there and tap the easy ball in there was crucial for us.”
On a team headlined by a strong senior class, Orendac is the engine of the team in midfield, as she provides a presence few opponents can match.
“When Ashley is on, we’re really good,” RV head coach Jay Flanagan said. “Sometimes I think her effort can be more consistent and she knows that, but she’s going D-1 for a reason.”
The defense carries plenty of experience as well, and it showed throughout 80 minutes on Thursday, as the unit led by Ava Saric swallowed up most of the opportunities Cinnaminson tried to create in the middle of the field.
“Our biggest thing in the back is make sure we’re stepping to every ball,” Saric said. “So if anyone is dribbling down the middle, we’re making sure our center backs are stepping right away. The outside, they were fast, but we have really fast backs too so we shut them down.”
The victory kept RV undefeated in the BCSL Liberty, but it’ll learn more about itself as a team during a difficult upcoming stretch.
Starting Wednesday, the Red Devils play seven games in nine days, with three of those games played inside the division.
But there’s a level of belief inside the RV team that it can wrap up the division title and contend in South Jersey Group 4, no matter how hard the tests get.
“We’re definitely taking it one game at a time,” Saric said. “This is the best year we’ve had so we’re excited, but not too excited. We have to stay focused.”
“We have all played with each other since we were young,” Orendac said. “We know this is our year. We’ll do anything to keep putting (the wins) away.”