Blue Devils One Step Closer To A Top Seed in SCT
West Long Branch, NJ- Saturday morning was a revival of two old conference foes taking it to each other on the pitch in at Shore Regional. Shore Regional entered the contest at 11-3-1 after a week where they lost a heartbreaker to Holmdel 1-0 but bounced back and beat St. Rose for the division. Rumson Fair Haven came in riding a fourteen game unbeaten streak that included 10 shutouts for a record of 13-1-1.
Shore Regional showed their early season woes were far behind them and the playing time the underclassman got early on were paying off for Coach George Moutis who started three freshman in Frankie McDonough, Hannah Birdsall and Sophie Hauritz. It would be one sequence of play from McDonough and Birdsall that would give the Blue Devils a 1-0 non-conference win over the Bulldogs.
With 18:13 remaining on a windy day at "The Bowl" at Shore Regional, Frankie battled with Rumson's senior defender Michaela Borneo down the right side of the pitch when McDonough was taken down and a free kick was given from 25 yards out. Blue Devils senior defender Jessican Egan stepped up and lofted a far post cross into the wind and was volleyed into the back of the net by freshman Birdsall for the 1-0 lead. The cross was held up by the wind which held up the decision making from Rumson's junior keeper Samantha Beaudreault which was a second late in getting to the cross.
Rumson which felt the loss of two starting position players at center midfield and stopper due to injury and college recruiting trip, got solid midfield play from senior Jacqueline Littleson and junior Hannah Losavio who created several offensive chances but were outmatched by the Blue Devils aggressive and speedy defenders.
Coach Moutis afterwards stated "Both myself and Rumson's Coach MB both like to play a possession style of soccer and the end of the game was not the pretties ball as both teams got caught up in kickball, but we will take the win."
Shore Regional which was looking to bolster their SCT positioning need a good showing against what some were seeing as Rumson at one of the top seeds. Entering the week Rumson had a case to be one of the top four teams along with Colts Neck, Manalapan and Freehold Township, but seven days later both Freehold and the Bulldogs both suffered defeats. Leaving Manalapan as the project #2 seed and the battle for three and four between Shore Regional, Rumson, Freehold Township.
Shore Regional made their case loud and clear today that their defense can play with anyone as they shut down another Shore Conference top scorer in Grace Forsyth and Grace Karagjozi, holding the pair to only two shots combined. The Blue Devils defense which is anchored by Shannon Anfuso, Egan and Amanda Fontana were lights out against the Bulldogs attack all day. Blue Devils keeper Katie Colaguori had a pretty quiet day with only 5 saves thanks in large part to her defense forcing all Bulldogs out wide and forcing them to play crossed into the wind or turnovers.
Once again the heart of the Blue Devils offense was on display again with the play of Devon McDonough, Sophie Hauritz and Shannon Bonner winning every loose ball in the middle of the field and moving up together as a unit which kept the Bulldogs defense on their heals. With the defense and midfielders doing their job, that left Frankie and Katie Stephens free to roam the field and create havoc. Even though the score ended 1-0, the Blue Devils dominated most of the game in their own offensive third but just could not find any additional scoring chances thanks to tough Rumson defending.