Toms River South Girls Soccer On A Mission
Toms River, NJ- Coming into the season the Shore Conference A-South was a division up for grabs and once again at the end of another black and blue division season it was the Indians of Toms River South once again claiming the A-south championship for the third year in a row and fourth in the last five seasons.
In capturing their third straight title, the Indians had to win the final regular season game against cross-town rival Toms River North who were projected as the team to beat all season long in the division. After 66 scoreless minutes of back and forth soccer, it was Katie Hammack scoring the game winner for Toms River South and would add an insurance goal minutes later to put the Indians up 2-0 for good.
The Indians victory over the Mariners from Toms River North happened at the same time as the seeding for the Shore Conference Tournament and had the game been played before 5 p.m., the result would have led to a better seed for the Indians. But as a result of the late contest starting at 7 p.m., the Mariners finished ahead of the Indians in the SCT seeding. The Indians earned the No. 9 seed and the Mariners who finished second in the division earned the No. 4 seed in the SCT.
"Seeding is always difficult," Toms River South coach John Crowley said. "If you look at A South we have a bunch of solid teams that can knock each other off. I was a little surprised with the seed but not frustrated. At the end of the day everyone has to play each other. We are excited for the postseason"
Toms River South drew Class B South opponent Barnegat in the first round of the tournament and hosted them Wednesday night. The Indians started a little sluggish but quickly erased the rust and went back to playing Indians soccer. They went back to playing small ball and used the passing lanes to move the ball around and found quality runs that paced them to a 7-0 victory over Barnegat.
"This is a special group of kids," Crowley said. "Our first goal as a team for the season is to win the A South. This is the fourth title in the last five years for us and third straight. The girls work hard and like playing in big games. Our four losses (Toms River East twice, Jackson Memorial, and Freehold Township) are to excellent teams. We just tried to learn from them and work on getting better."
Once the Indians offense got on track there was nothing slowing them down. Madison Meise paced the offense with a goal and three assists. Alyia Canfield and Mackenzie Ryan had a goal and an assist while Charly Slavick, Tori Babcock, Morgyn Hall, and Madison McCelland scored a goal apiece and Emily Donzanti and Samantha Labianca added an assist to round out the Indians scoring.
Next up for the A South champions is the defending Group II State Champion and No. 8 seed Holmdel Friday afternoon at Holmdel.