Girls Soccer – Colbert’s Strike Keys Freehold Township to SCT Semifinal Win Over TR North
BAYVILLE - As one of the few scoring threats returning from last year's NJSIAA Group IV co-championship team, Freehold Township junior Jasmine Colbert has learned about life as the go-to scorer on a quality team.
During Wednesday's Shore Conference Tournament semifinal against No. 3 seed Toms River North Saturday, Colbert did not have many chances to break the game in the Patriots' favor, but as top scorers often learn, she made the most of the best chance she got.
Colbert tucked a shot inside the far left post and up against the side netting in the final 100 seconds of the first half and the second-seeded Patriots held on for a 1-0 win over Toms River North. Freehold Township will play Class A North division rival Colts Neck in the SCT final Saturday at Central Regional.
"When you're playing a team as tough as Toms River, you've got to come out and work and that's what we did," Colbert said. "You have to take those shots and take those chances."
With the clock ticking past two minutes remaining in the first half, Alyssa Reszkowski played the ball toward the right post and Colbert raced onto it. Colbert dribbled the ball to a spot 12 yards out off to the right side of the goal and sent in a ball that cleared keeper Ashley Tutzsauer and stayed inside the left post.
"I wanted it to be a cross and I guess I hit it close enough to the goal to get it in," Colbert said. "From that angle, it's hard to decide you're just going to shoot it. You just try to cross it and hope for the best."
Toms River North's defense was able to keep Colbert from cutting loose any other standout shots at the net, but one shot was all she needed.
"Last year, she had (Rutgers freshman) Nicole Whitley to play off of," Freehold Township coach Dave Patterson said. "Everybody kind of new that she was the one you had to slow down when you play us. She would see double and triple teams, but she never got frustrated with it."
The Mariners' best chance to score a goal came in the 15th minute, when junior forward and leading scorer Krystal Hund shook free, got the ball past the keeper, and attempted to regain her footing and walk the ball into the net. Before she could, however, Kiersten Reszkowski darted to the mouth of the goal and cleared the ball away from the endline to preserve the scoreless tie.
If overcoming the loss of a deep, talented 2016 class wasn't enough of an obstacle for Freehold Township to overcome in its pursuit of a second straight trip to the final, the Patriots played without starters Paige Farrell and Jada Colbert. Farrell is undergoing concussion protocol and is expected to be ready for Saturday, while Jada Colbert is day-to-day with an ankle injury.
With Farrell unable to occupy her central midfield spot, Christa Rasponte filled in for Freehold Township and paired with Nicole Sasso in controlling the middle of the pitch.
"Christa is someone we've had faith in all year long," Patterson said. "For whatever reason, she hasn't had the opportunity, but tonight she had an opportunity and ran with it. The whole team is so proud of her."
For the second straight year, Freehold Township will face Colts Neck in the Shore Conference Tournament final. The Patriots fell to the Cougars, 1-0, in the 2015 final.