Girls Soccer – Tagliaferri Returns to Spark Colts Neck
OCEAN TWP. - According to junior Frankie Tagliaferri, it's not a typical Colts Neck girls soccer game unless somebody on the Cougars misses a breakaway chance and in that respect, Thursday's game against Ocean was a typical game for Tagliaferri and her Colts Neck teammates.
As the Cougars and their opponents have grown accustomed to, however, when Tagliaferri is on the field, those scoring chances just keep coming.
Playing in her first game since leaving to train with the U.S. U-17 National Team in Bradenton, Fla. last week, Tagliaferri scored two goals and assisted four others to spark Colts Neck - the No. 1 team in the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10 - to a dominant 7-0 win over No. 4 Ocean in a meeting between the only two Shore Conference Class B North teams with no divisional losses.
"It's always great to go train, but of course, it stinks missing games and missing the team," Tagliaferri said. "Knowing I have a team like this, girls like this and a coach like this to come back to makes everything great."
"It's a different game when Frankie's back because she makes a lot more runs than anybody else and she's a lot more technical," said senior Bridgette King, who scored two goals of her own Thursday for her third straight game with multiple goals. "But we do have a lot of players around the field and who come off the bench and just do the work that needs to be done."
Colts Neck (6-0-1, 4-0-1) missed its first eight shots, including two breakaway chances that Ocean (5-2, 3-1) goalkeeper Ali Chomsky denied, before Tagliaferri broke the ice with a goal in the 29th minute. The Penn State recruit settled the ball out of a throw-in and dribbled past three defenders all the way to the goal, where she slid a shot past Chomsky.
"We get frustrated, but we keep pushing each other to get it done," King said.
"It is frustrating, but sometimes we just look at each other and laugh," Tagliaferri said.
The first Colts Neck goal set off a scoring assault over a three-minute stretch. King scored her first goal 45 seconds after Tagliaferri's first goal after Tagliaferri played her through with a diagonal pass from left to right. King turned the corner, drew out Chomsky, and finished to the far corner of an exposed goal.
Chomsky saved a breakaway by Tagliaferri less than a minute later, but it only delayed the inevitable. Tagliaferri blew past a host of defenders and finished her second goal in a span of 2:34, just 1:49 after King's goal.
Despite a 3-0 halftime lead that included a 15-2 advantage in shots, Colts Neck entered the second half looking to add on. Two weeks ago, the Cougars squandered a 3-0 halftime lead at home to Wall before pulling out the win in overtime.
"We've been trying to work on putting games away and playing the full 80 minutes," King said. "That's been our motto. Play all out for 80 minutes."
Just 26 seconds into the second half, Tagliaferri played the ball up the flank to sophomore Kayla Lee, who glided past the defense and finished inside the near post for a 4-0 Colts Neck lead.
Senior center back Amanda Visco pushed up for the fifth Colts Neck goal in the 54th minute, a header off a free kick by Tagliaferri from near the left corner that she sent to Visco on the far post.
After her and Tagliaferri sat for nearly 20 minutes, King tacked another goal in the 74th on a 20-yard strike to the upper left corner of the goal off a pass from junior Kara Camarco. Fifty-seven seconds later, Camarco scored the last Colts Neck goal by redirecting a free kick by Tagliaferri into the goal.
In total, Tagliaferri took seven shots, five of which were on target and two of which ended up in the goal. Colts Neck outshot Ocean 26-5 for the game, with an 18-4 advantage in shots on goal. Sophomore Lauren Feaster saved four shots to earn the shutout in goal.
Colts Neck went 2-0-1 in Tagliaferri's absence, defeating Neptune 5-0 and Red Bank 6-0, while drawing Red Bank Catholic 1-1. King recorded a hat trick in both wins, scored the lone goal against RBC and has now scored 12 in seven games. Tagliaferri has 11 goals and seven assists in her four games.
Tagliaferri will miss one more week between Oct. 11 and 18, which is the week prior to the start of the Shore Conference Tournament. Tagliaferri helped lead the Cougars to the SCT final last year, but had to leave for Florida during the weekend of the championship game, which Colts Neck lost to Wall, 1-0. Colts Neck went on to win the Central Jersey Group III championship and advanced all the way to the Group III final, where the Cougars lost to national power Northern Highlands.
"We have some young girls right now and they are new and don't know as much or have as much experience as the upper classmen," Tagliaferri said. "They weren't here to feel what last year felt like, so we've been trying to emphasize to them what that feels like so that we don't have to feel that again."