Derby Info: Match Fit Academy vs PDA Blue

Date: Sunday, May 14, 2023

Location: Morris Catholic High School | Denville, New Jersey

Age Groups: U15-U18/19

This weekend, The Garden State takes center stage as two of New Jersey’s top clubs, Match Fit Academy and PDA Blue battle it out in a North Atlantic Conference showdown on Sunday, May 14 in Denville, New Jersey.

Club: Match Fit Academy

Year Founded: 2000

Club Location: Denville, New Jersey

Things You Should Know: 09 – 2022 ECNL National Quarterfinalists

Quotables: Match Fit Academy comes into this weekend’s Derby with both their 04/05 and 07 teams sitting in the top three in the North Atlantic Conference and looking to make a push for the postseason.

“It’s a long standing rivalry. You’re talking about two of the most historically significant clubs in the state,” said Match Fit Academy Girls ECNL Director Jordan Raper.

“PDA has always been a rival because they’re the club we’ve looked up to and competed against. They’ve always kind of set the standard,” Raper said.

One of the standout games for Match Fit Academy this weekend will be their 07s who are currently in third in the North Atlantic Conference. A result against a PDA side that is 10-0 at the 07 level would go a long way in helping Match Fit Academy secure a spot in the postseason.

“It’s a tall order to go and play their blue team,” Raper said. “Historically for us it’s always a challenge and always the week you have in your mind.”

With both teams residing in New Jersey there is always a little more incentive for each side with the added in-state rivalry. While he tries to get his sides prepared for the fixture this weekend like any other game, Raper noted that he is definitely aware of that added incentive his players will bring into the games.

“I would be foolish if I said they don’t look at this fixture and see it as a personal challenge,” said Raper.

With the regular season winding down, Raper looks at this as a good opportunity to see where they stack up against another top club because he knows each side will bring their best this weekend.

“It’s a measuring point for you. Where are you in your season genuinely, because you’re going to see the best effort from both teams.”

Club: PDA Blue

Year Founded: 1998

Club Location: Somerset, New Jersey

Things You Should Know: 09 – 2022 ECNL National Finalists, 07 – 2022 ECNL National Semifinalists, 06 and 08 – 2022 ECNL National Quarterfinalists

Quotables: PDA Blue enter the weekend at the top of the 04/05, 06 and 07 age groups while also sitting in second place at the 08 age group. Head Coach of the 06s and 07s, Madison Tiernan, believes the Derby is a great chance for her sides to get some final high level competition before they move onto the postseason, and the in-state rivalry will only add to it.

“It’s always great having that in-state rivalry and competition,” said Tiernan. “You might know people on the other side. It adds a little extra sauce to the game.”

Not only will players on each side knowing one another add something extra to this weekend’s games, but the high level of competition is also something that has both sides excited to go up against one another before the postseason.

“You can’t really replicate this type of competition consistently,” Tiernan said. “It has a strong fire behind it and it really helps the girls be prepared for the games coming up where more is going to be on the line.”

Even with some of PDA’s teams sitting in first in the standings nothing changes about the mentality going into the weekend. The goal is to always go out and get three points.

“Every point matters so we’re going out with the mentality that we need three points,” Tiernan said. “Definitely a great last challenge and I know the girls will be up for the game which is exciting.”

Tiernan knows her club is coming into this game very proud of what they have accomplished so far this season and believes that this weekend is not only exciting for the two clubs, but will also be a great showcase for the talent that is in the state of New Jersey.

“To have two teams competing very close to each other just adds more excitement. We are so proud of everything our club is doing and to be able to play someone next door just adds another level of excitement and great representation for the state of New Jersey,” said Tiernan. “It’s definitely a game that everyone should have their eyes on.”