Andreoli's hat trick leads Hawthorne past Heights

Freshman Briana Andreoli made her mark on the state tournament with a hat trick in Hawthorne's 4-0 win over Hasbrouck Heights in the North 1, Group 1 opener.

HAWTHORNE – Making a varsity team as a freshman is an accomplishment all by itself. Cracking the starting lineup is another impressive feat, but joining an experienced varsity squad and becoming the go-to player up front adds some pressure. That is what Hawthorne’s Briana Andreoli has had to manage throughout the season. She has gained the respect and admiration of her teammates due to her work ethic, her soft-spoken demeanor off the field and her production on it.

As the state tournament began on Tuesday and the stakes were raised, how would Andreoli handle the pressure? If the Lady Bears’ first-round game was any indication, both they and Andreoli should be just fine.

The freshman netted a hat trick and the defense did not allow a shot on goal the entire game as fourth-seeded Hawthorne cruised to a 4-0 first-round win in North 1, Group 1 over 13th seeded Hasbrouck Heights in Hawthorne.

“Every game we want to score early and keep pushing forward from there,” said Hawthorne senior captain Heather Bertollo. “It’s an advantage to play on our grass field. It’s bumpy, muddy, and pretty unpredictable. That’s an edge we have to know where those bumps are and how the field plays.”

Odaliana Gomez made 11 saves for Hasbrouck Heights, which finished the season with a 10-7-1 record.

Bertollo, a steady senior center midfielder, took control of the game early by winning several 50-50 balls as the Bears kept the ball in the Aviators’ defensive third for the majority of the first half before breaking through in the 16th minute. Andreoli ran onto a Alejandra Castillo long ball popped towards the top of the box. A pair of Aviator defenders had a miscommunication as to who was going after the ball. By the time Hasbrouck Heights’ keeper Odaliana Gomez had to react and retrieve the loose ball it was too late. Andreoli slipped between the defenders, settled the ball and slid it into the lower left-hand corner to put the Bears in front.

Six minutes later another hustle play from Andreoli led to goal. After a direct kick was awarded for Hasbrouck Heights near midfield Gomez was asked to come all the way up to take the kick. The grass pitch at Hawthorne was particularly slick near that area. Gomez slipped and fell while taking the kick and Hawthorne defender Sofia DeFillippo alertly saw the goalie way out of net and bombed a long ball towards net. Gomez (11 saves) raced back to get to the bouncing ball but with it still being out of the box she could not play it with her hands. She could only watch as Andreoli got enough of her head on it for it to roll into the net, giving the Bears a comfortable 2-0 lead at the half.

“I just wanted to get to the ball first before the goalie did,” said Andreoli. “I just wanted to get the ball in the net however I did it.”

Heather Bertolio and Hawthorne will host Pompton Lakes in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The lone chance to get back in the game for Hasbrouck Heights (10-7-1) came five minutes into the second half on a cross from Emily Gjeli. Serena Torres made a run to try and get a head on it but was beaten to it by charging Hawthorne keeper Gabriella Del Valle. Andreoli capped her hat trick minutes later off of a feed from Ruby Conroy to put the game away. It was her 27th goal of the year.

Katrina Kimberlin dominated in the back and Bertollo added the other goal for Hawthorne (13-4-1). The Bears will get another home state tourney game when they take on rival Pompton Lakes, which won a 4-3 thriller in overtime over Kinnelon. The teams split their two regular-season meetings, with Pompton Lakes winning 3-0 back in September and Hawthorne claiming the rematch, 4-0.

“Pompton Lakes is really aggressive and they know us well, but we know them well and we have to be equally as aggressive,” added Bertollo. “We’ve been getting a lot better throughout the season and scoring more consistently lately so we’re excited to get back on the field again.”