Check back later for more video, reaction and coverage from Shore's first ever outright state title.

UNION - Colts Neck coach Doug Phillips spent the last three days convincing his team it could keep the No. 1 team in the country according to USA Today off the scoreboard for 80 minutes and after a scoreless first half, his players were fully on board.

In order to deliver Colts Neck its first evern state title, there was still the matter of scoring a goal against four-time defending NJSIAA Group III champion and unbeaten Northern Highlands, which - as is usually the case for Colts Neck - is where junior Frankie Tagliaferri came in.

Tagliaferri earned a penalty kick in the 55th minute and cashed in for the lone goal of the game as the Cougars held on to stun the four-time defending champion Highlanders, 1-0, to win the first group title in program history.

Less than a minute before taking the winning kick, Tagliaferri got behind the defense and chased down a through-ball from Tara Walenczyk to give her a one-on-one chance on goal. Northern Highlands keeper Kayla Klatt, however, stonewalled her shot to momentarily keep the game scoreless.

On the ensuing thrown-in, Tagliaferri got the ball back, beat a defender and was tripped up inside the penalty box. Shortly after missing a breakaway opportunity - Colts Neck's first shot on goal - Tagliaferri drilled the penalty kick to the upper right of the goal to break a scoreless deadlock.

The Cougars held on for 25 minutes thanks to a more defensive formation than is typical of Colts Neck. Senior midfielder Ali Russo played the entire game as a defensive center fullback alongside Amanda Visco and the Cougars defense kept the Highlanders on the perimeter of the 18-yard box. Sophomore goalkeeper Lauren Feaster did the rest by saving 11 shots, including three in the final six minutes.

The shutout effort by Feaster and the defense helped the Cougars survive a 19-7 shot advantage in favor of Northern Highlands. Feaster dropped the ball on the first play she handled, but came right back with a diving save to her right on a strike by Amy Harris 12 minutes in.

Colts Neck played Saturday's game withouth senior forward and second-leading scorer Bridgette King, who suffered a concussion at the end of the Cougars' group semifinal win over Toms River South on Tuesday.

The loss is just the second suffered by Northern Highlands in the last five seasons. Northern Highlands defeated Colts Neck, 4-0, in last year's Group III championship game.

Box Score

Colts Neck 1, Northern Highlands 0

1 2 F
Colts Neck (24-0-1) 0 1 1
Northern Highlands (22-1-1) 0 0 0

Goals (Assists): Frankie Tagliaferri (PK) 55’
Shots: Northern Highlands, 19-7
Saves: (CN) Lauren Feaster 11; (NH) Kayla Klatt 2

Check back later for more video, reaction and coverage from Shore's first ever outright state title.