NJSIAA Tournament

Group Finals

At Kean University

Group I

Kinnelon 2, Shore 0

Two long Kinnelon strikes in the first half did in the Blue Devils as Shore fell in the Group I final for the second time in three years after tying Glen Ridge for the title last year.

Emily Thiem buried a 30-yard strike just under the crossbar from straight on in the 22nd minute to open the scoring. Casey Gray followed that goal up with a 25-yard hit from the left angle to the upper far right corner of the goal to stretch the Kinnelon lead to 2-0 in the 36th.

Shannon Bonner had Shore’s best chance in the first half when she one-timed a flick off a corner kick on the right post, but her shot flew wide of the near post.


Group II

Holmdel 1, Ramapo 0

Junior Gabby Bair buried a 25-yard direct kick in the 16th minute and the Hornets hung on to beat the 12-time state champion Ramapo to capture their first ever NJSIAA Group championship.

Senior goalkeeper Helen Burleigh saved five shots to help stave off heavy pressure from Ramapo over the final 64 minutes. She smothered a one-on-one chance in the 47th minute and made a diving save on a low shot to the left side of the goal in the 65th minute. Burleigh is one of only five seniors on the Holmdel roster.

Holmdel applied heavy pressure in the first 10 minutes of play and manufactured only one shot in the stretch. Ramapo began to assert itself on the other end, but the Hornets mounted a counter-attack in the 15th minute and drew a foul 25 yards away from the goal on the left side.

Bair lined up a shot with a slight wind at her back and placed a shot to the upper far corner of the frame that just barely eluded the reach of Ramapo goalkeeper Lizzy Stallakis.

Junior Hannah Lee, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Sterling in Wednesday’s Group II semifinal, worked for three scoring chances. Stellakis saved the first breakaway and got help from her defense on the second chance after the keeper came off of her line, leaving the goal exposed. Lee fired wide to the far left post in the 73rd minute with Stellakis off the line again, but the Holmdel defense made the insurance unnecessary.


Group III

Northern Highlands 4, Colts Neck 0

Senior forward and University of Virginia recruit Hana Kerner notched a hat trick in her final high school game and the Highlanders overwhelmed the Cougars to win their fourth straight Group III championship. As the lone senior on the team, Kerner is the only player in the program to go her entire career without losing in the state tournament.

Colts Neck nearly scored in the first 30 seconds of the game when sophomore Frankie Tagliaferri played the ball through to junior Bridgette King, who cleared the back line of the Highlanders defense. Northern Highlands goalkeeper Kayla Klatt smothered the shot attempt by King to deny the Cougars' best scoring opportunity.

Kerner opened the scoring in the seventh minute by settling a cross from Ariel Somple and ripping a low strike to the far left corner of the goal. She later scored the back-breaking goal on a counter-attack just 35 seconds before halftime and scored on another counter in the 66th with a clinical finish to the far side netting from the left side.

Junior Casey Richards set up Kerner's third goal and also scored the fourth Northern Highlands goal with a 25-yard, left-footed shot to the far left corner of the goal in the 69th minute.

The two rosters from Saturday's Group III final graduate a combined total of three seniors.