Shore Captures First Outright Group I Championship
Union, NJ - It took double-overtime in their 26th game of the season but it was well worth the wait for the Shore Regional girls soccer team. The Blue Devils are now the NJSIAA Group I Champions after a 2-1 win over Glen Ridge.
The Blue Devils came into todays matchup against Glen Ridge holding a record of 0-1-1 against the Ridgers in championship play. It was the fourth year in a row for the Blue Devils who earned Co-Champions with Glen Ridge in 2013, but for the five seniors on this years team, they weren't going to settle for anything less.
Seniors Shannon Anfuso, Shannon Bonner, Katie Colaguori, Amanda Fontana and Jessica Egan left everything they had on the field today and gave coach George Moutis the leadership he needed in this contest. It was the midfield play of the Blue Devils that kept Glen Ridge off balance in the first half after opening a little nervous and tentative before settling down and knew they had what it took to play with the Ridgers. After the first five minutes of play in which Glen Ridge dominated in the Shore defensive end, Shore went on the attack and dominated the last 35 minutes.
Freshman standouts Hannah Birdsall and Frankie McDonough connected with each other midway through the first half when McDonough was able to break loose and connected from 25 yards to beat the keeper high and give the Blue Devils a 1-0 lead. McDonough created several scoring opportunities in the first half and kept the Ridge defenders off balance.
"We knew they were strong defensively and the chances were going to be limited so when I received the pass from Hannah and saw the keeper off her mark I took my chance and it paid off," Frankie McDonough said.
The Blue Devils, however, were a different team in the second half as they came out of the break flat and Glen Ridge quickly took advantage. Just under 10 minutes into the half, Shore's Colaguori lost a service by Colleen Grady in the sun and Galen Lew capitalized with the equalizer on a header. Glen Ridge would dominate the entire second half but Shore's defense and Colaguori kept the game tied heading into overtime between these two squads.
After a scoreless first overtime, Shore Regional went on the attack in the second overtime and with just under seven minutes to play, Frankie McDonough took a run down the right side and forced Glen Ridge into a corner kick. Freshman Hannah Birdsall bent the corner kick in which was misplay by Glen Rock defense and the Blue Devils would begin their celebration as Glen Rock's clear was deflected into the back of the net for an own goal.
"I could not be happier for these group of young ladies," Shore coach George Moutis said. "They never quit, they kept battling and believed in each other. I told them in the overtime we need to push the tempo and force their back line into quick decisions and it paid off on the final play. For these seniors to finally go out on top by beating a great team like Glen Ridge is something else."