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HOLMDEL - During the early stages of his team’s NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public B championship game against Mater Dei Prep Thursday night at Holmdel High School, St. Rose girls soccer coach Mike Parshelunis told senior striker Lauren Gates to be aware of Mater Dei goalkeeper Katie Viscardi coming off of her line.

“The effect of it is two-fold,” Parshelunis said of his advice to his senior captain. “Yes, if the keeper comes out 30 yards, I want to get a shot on the goal, but I also wanted Lauren to get her head up quickly with the ball at her feet and look to be aggressive.”

Bates did not get a chance to catch Viscardi out of position, so instead, she just beat her with a perfect strike.

Bates buried a left-footed shot from 35 yards out in the 46th minute and the St. Rose defense in front of junior goalkeeper Jordan Nash held off the Seraphs to secure a 1-0 win and a second straight South Jersey Non-Public B championship.

“The most important thing tonight was we played with confidence,” Bates said. “This is a team we know really well and they played us tougher than anyone. As the senior captain, I know it starts with me setting that tone for everybody else.”

After two near misses in the final 2:30 of the first half, Bates did not miss St. Rose’s first chance in the second half. She controlled the ball 40 yards away from the goal, dribbled to her right before cutting back to the left and lofting a left-footed shot that carried just out of the reach of Viscardi while tucking under the crossbar.

“I think I’m just as strong with my left as I am with my right and that’s something I take a lot of pride in,” Bates said. “When I have a chance to take a shot with my left foot, there’s no hesitation. On the goal, as soon as a hit it, I knew it was in.”

3 - Lauren Gates drills a 35-yard strike from All Shore Media on Vimeo.

Mater Dei won the regular-season series with a win and a tie against the Purple Roses and St. Rose stayed on the wrong end of fortune by missing three quality chances in the first half. The last two of those chances came in the final 2:30 of the half, the first of which was a clean look at the goal by junior Seneca Kinn-Gurzo, who redirected a cross from Gates just wide of the right crossbar.

Seconds after the miss by Kinn-Gurzo, Viscardi made a lunging save to her right on a shot by junior Kathleen Dailey.

St. Rose outshot Mater Dei 9-5, but the Seraphs tested Nash and the Purple Roses defense with five corner kicks.

“They are forever dangerous because they challenge every play,” Parshelunis said of Mater Dei. “This game was tricky in a lot of ways, not only because of how Mater Dei plays, but where we were mentally. Our losses this year have come against very good teams, and Mater Dei was one of them. We had to get over the mental hurdle of playing and beating a good team, and I do think our experience in this game helped us do that.”

Mater Dei Prep applied pressure on the St. Rose goal following the game’s lone score. The Seraphs’ best chance came on a direct kick by Julia McCarthy from 25 yards, a low line drive that Nash deflected wide of the left post.

Nash also made a key save in the 12th minute by punching a 30-yard shot by Lindsey Florio over the crossbar, a leaping save that deterred a shot on target.

“Anytime you’re putting pressure on the other goal, you have to be ready for a long shot or a counter, and I knew they had some girls who could shoot from far out,” Nash said. “I made sure I was in position and ready to react.”

“It’s such a luxury to have a keeper like Jordan back there,” Parshelunis said. “You don’t have to worry about pushing numbers up and even when you give up corners and free kicks, you know she’s going to handle her end and keep everyone organized.”

St. Rose also beat Mater Dei Prep in last year’s sectional final, 3-0, which came one year after the Seraphs won the sectional final in 2011. Between the two Shore Conference Class B South rivals, they have combined to win the last four South Jersey Non-Public B championships.

The Purple Roses will play Morris Catholic – 4-1 winners over Montclair Kimberley Academy – in the Non-Public B final Wednesday at The College of New Jersey. Morris Catholic defeated St. Rose, 1-0, in last year’s championship game.

Bates was a freshman on the 2010 Non-Public B championship team and scored in the Purple Roses’ win over Morris Catholic.

“Even though she scored in the game, as a freshman, it’s more like you’re along for the ride while the seniors carry you there,” Parshelunis said. “As a senior, there’s that sense that this belongs to you because this is your team and you’ve put in the time for four years. I’m happy for her because she knows when her last practice is going to be, and she knows when her last game is going to be and that’s something I think Lauren and all of our seniors have earned.”

“I definitely expect that we’ll be more confident going into the game this year,” Bates said. “Last year felt like everything happened so fast, but we’re going there with a different mindset this year.”


Box Score

St. Rose 1, Mater Dei Prep 0




Mater Dei Prep (13-5-2)




St. Rose (15-3-2)




Goals (Assists): Bates 46’
Shots: St. Rose, 9-5
Saves: (MD) Viscardi 3; (SR) Nash 3