TOMS RIVER - Toms River North senior Alex Poll had no idea how much time was left in Saturday's Shore Conference Class A South game against rival Toms River East but he knew three things: 1. There was not much time; 2. Toms River North needed a goal; 3. His coach told him he needs to start getting his head on the ball.

With 12 seconds left in regulation, Poll heeded his coach's call by heading in the equalizer to set up the golden goal by classmate Jack Butz in the third minute of overtime, capping a wild, come-from-behind, 2-1 win for the Mariners over the Raiders.

With the final seconds of the second half ticking away and Toms River East clinging to a 1-0 lead, Toms River North junior Riley DeFeis lofted the ball toward the front of the six-yard box. As Toms River East keeper Steve Cosentino came off his line and left his feet to play the ball in the air, Poll went up and beat him to it. Poll flicked a header backward and into the open net with the clock reading 12 seconds.

Toms River North rode the wave of momentum into overtime and dominated the 2:39 seconds that it took to finish off the game. The Mariners earned a corner kick in the 83rd minute and DeFeis served the ball toward the near post. It hit a defender and bounced right to Butz, who one-time a shot into the right side of the frame to set off the celebration.

Toms River East went winless over its first 12 games last year before winning two of its final three matches - one of which was against Toms River North. It appeared the Raiders were going to knock off the Mariners - No. 9 in the Shore Sports Network Preseason Top 10 - again Saturday after junior Logan Romero scored in the 21st minute and the Raiders defense paired with Cosentino to keep Toms River North off the scoreboard for the first 79:47.

Toms River North's best chance to tie the game prior to the final seconds came less than a minute after Romero opened the scoring. Butz took a 22-yard free kick and ripped it squarely off the crossbar.

One day earlier, in its opener against Central Regional Friday afternoon, Toms River East bounced back from a 1-0 second-half deficit to beat the Golden Eagles in overtime. Saturday's loss snapped a three-game A South winning streak by the Raiders dating back to last season.

 

*Note: This story originally named Trevor Zabilowicz as the Toms River East goalkeeper. It was Steve Cosentino.

 

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