The Toms River North girls soccer team advanced to the semifinals of, arguably, the toughest conference tournament in the state in back-to-back seasons in 2016 and 2017 with two talented groups - including a 2016 squad that won the NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV championship.

This year's team entered with similar hopes, but a much younger, inexperienced roster than the Mariners boasted in either of the past two years.

Toms River North's youth turned out to be a footnote during the Mariners' first run to a Shore Conference Tournament championship since 2012, which ended with a 1-0 win over Red Bank Catholic on Wednesday. For winning the conference championship in program history, Toms River North is the Circle Chevy Week 5 Team of the Week.

The No. 5 seed in the tournament, Toms River North took down St. John Vianney, high-scoring Shore and No. 1 Middletown North to get to the final. Once there, the Mariners shut down the Caseys attack ended a four-game shutout streak by RBC when sophomore Alexa Peto buried a 12-yard strike in the 28th minute of the championship game.

Peto was a source of offense throughout the tournament, scoring a goal each in the wins over St. John Vianney, Shore and RBC while also assisting the first of Toms River North's two goal in the semifinal win over Middletown North.

Despite the youth on the roster, Toms River North did get a big boost from its senior quartet in the lineup during the run. Marisa Tava was instrumental in running the attack and scored in the wins over SJV and Shore. Jaszmin Brown was the standout vs. Middletown North and headed in the game-winning goal in the 76th minute off a cross from fellow senior midfielder Madison Bennert. Morgan Curtis also assisted the game-winner by Peto in Wednesday's final - her second assist of the tournament.

The Mariners will try to orchestrate another surprise run when the NJSIAA Tournament begins on Tuesday. Toms River North is the No. 6 seed in South Jersey Group IV and will begin a quest for a third straight appearance in the sectional final when it hosts Egg Harbor.

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