Photo Gallery by Doug Bostwick

UNION TWP. – Despite the fact that his team had reached consecutive NJSIAA Group I championship games the previous two years and had graduated just two seniors from last year’s Group I co-championship squad, Shore Regional coach George Moutis was actually surprised his team made it back to defend its co-title this season.

That did not make the result Saturday at Kean University any easier to handle.

After overcoming a rash of injuries to reach its third straight Group I championship, Shore finally met its match Saturday, falling 2-0 to Kinnelon for its second defeat in the Group final in the last three years. The championship is the second in the history of the Kinnelon program and first since 2006.

Senior Sam McDonough (7) played the final game of her accomplished high school career at Shore Regional Saturday. She will play at Princeton University next year after guiding Shore to three straight Group I Final appearances. (Photo by Doug Bostwick)

“In a lot of ways, I wasn’t expecting us to make it this far after everything we’ve been through this year,” Moutis said. “I’m really proud of the way the girls fought to make it back and didn’t let all the injuries stop them from going for our goal. It doesn’t make losing any easier, but it was a great season.”

The Colts scored both goals on long strikes in the first half to take a 2-0 lead into halftime. Senior Emily Thiem drilled a 30-yard laser in the 22nd minute to open the score and in the 36th, senior Casey Gray hammered a shot to the far right corner from the same distance.

After senior Kylie Foggia started the game in goal for Shore, Moutis inserted junior Katie Colaguori for the second half. Colaguori is normally the starter in goal for the Blue Devils, but just returned Wednesday from an ankle injury that caused her to miss most of the season.

“Katie is still coming back from her injury and isn’t a hundred percent yet,” Moutis said. “I didn’t really feel comfortable playing her a whole game and even if she did, the result is the same. Kylie has been great for us all year and it didn’t matter who was in goal. No one was going to save either of those shots.”

The injury to Colagouri was just one that continued to hamper the Blue Devils into the state final. Shore has missed sophomore Katie Stephens (knee) and Lauren Britton (back) due to their respective ailments.

Shore’s best chances to score came at the end of the first half when Kinnelon keeper Emily Kapr saved a shot by sophomore Devon McDonough to set up a Shore corner kick. After a scrum in the box, junior Shannon Bonner got a clean look on the near post, but fired just wide.

The Blue Devils are poised for another crack at their first outright Group championship next year after losing twice and earning a draw over the last three years. Shore loses only three seniors, although one is standout center midfielder Samantha McDonough, who helped Shore stay competitive in the midfield on Saturday. McDonough will join her older sister, Jesse, at Princeton University next year.

“It’s especially tough this year because we are losing Sam,” Moutis said. “She’s a great player and the girls really feed off of her energy and attitude. We have a good group coming back, but we’re going to miss her.”


Box Score

Kinnelon 2, Shore 0




Kinnelon (20-5)




Shore (18-6-1)




Goals (Assists): (K) Thiem (Connolly) 22’, Gray 36’
Shots: Tied, 10-10
Saves: (K) Kapr 6; (S) Foggia 1, Colaguori 3