Girls Soccer – NJSIAA Group Finals
Girls NJSIAA Group Championships
Saturday, Nov. 21
At Kean University, Union
Group I Final
Shore 2, Glen Ridge 1
Freshman Hannah Birdsall served a corner kick off two Glen Ridge defenders and into the net for the golden goal in the 93rd minute and the Blue Devils (21-4-1) pulled out a win over the Ridgers (17-6-1) for their first ever outright NJSIAA group championship. Shore had been to the previous three finals, but lost twice and share the title with Ridge in 2013.
Freshman Frankie McDonough staked Shore to a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute by burying a 25-yard strike to the far right corner of the goal. The freshman, who finished the team-leader with 23 goals, took a pass from Birdsall, turned and hit a dipping shot that tucked into the back corner of the goal.
McDonough later dribbled through the defense for another quality chance in the 36th minute, but her shot bent just wide of the far left post.
Glen Ridge tied the game in the 50th when junior Galen Lew headed in a free kick by junior Colleen Grady. After Shore controlled the first half by outshooting the Ridgers 6-3, Glen Ridge responded by limiting Shore's chances and closing the gap in shots to 10-7.
Shore nearly won the game twice in the first overtime period, first on a one-timed poke by senior Shannon Bonner that rolled just wide of the right post. Junior Devon McDonough later got her head to a corner kick by Birdsall, but her shot stayed over the crossbar in the 88th minute.
Group II Final
Ramapo 2, Holmdel 0
The Indians (21-3-2) scored on two corner kicks by Monica Scaglione within four minutes of one another late in the first half and went on to beat the defending champion Hornets (16-7-1) for their 13th overall group title and first in Group II since moving from Group III.
Karlie Brogan headed home a goal in the 29th minute on Scaglione's service to break a scoreless deadlock. Olivia Kraebel flicked in a header 3:05 later on a corner kick from the same right corner by Scaglione to send the Indians to halftime with a 2-0 lead.
Hannah Lee made a bid for her 22nd goal of the season in the 43rd minute, but her one-time volley from eight yards out hit the crossbar.
Kraebel nearly scored her second goal in the 50th minute, but her 10-yard strike drilled the bottom of the crossbar and came down in play.
Holmdel goalkeeper Mattie Milkowski saved five shots, but the Hornets could not overcome a 14-1 Ramapo advantage in shots.
Ramapo's win avenges last year's 1-0 loss to Holmdel in which the Hornets won their first ever NJSIAA group title by beating the most decorated public school team in the history of the state tournament.
Group III Final
Colts Neck 1, Northern Highlands 0
Frankie Tagliaferri earned a penalty kick in the 55th minute and cashed in for the lone goal of the game as the Cougars (24-0-1) held on to stun the previously unbeaten and four-time defending champion Highlanders (22-1-1) 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 two defenders 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.
Group IV Final
Freehold Township 0, Ridge 0
The Patriots (20-4-2) handed the Red Devils (23-0-1) the first blemish on their record this season by playing them to a scoreless draw, which clinches Freehold Township its first ever NJSIAA group championship.
Ridge owned a 14-8 advantage in shots, but goalkeeper Kaela Chadzuitko turned away six shots to keep the previously perfect Red Devils off the board.
The best chance in the second half came on a Ridge direct kick from just outside the 18-yard box on the right side in the 73rd minute. Chrissy Weyrauch struck a shot that pierced through the Freehold Township wall, but the ball hit the near left post.
Nicole Whitley, Jasmine Colbert and Lacey Powell all had chances on net for the Patriots, but Ridge goalkeeper Samantha Carney was up to task and saved all three.
Ridge has now been to four finals in the last eight years without winning one, although Saturday's draw did earn the Red Devils their first state title since winning Group III in 2003.