Girls Soccer – Colbert Sisters Spark Freehold Township Over Freehold Boro
FREEHOLD TWP. - Even with four seniors committed to Division I programs on the same team, Freehold Township freshmen twins Jasmine and Jada Colbert manage to stand out for the Patriots - the No. 1 seed in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV playoffs.
Jasmine Colbert scored two goals and Jada Colbert assisted two to help lead the Patriots past No. 9 seed and crosstown rival Freehold Borough, 4-0, to advance to the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals on Monday. Freehold Township will host No. 5 Princeton with a trip to the sectional final on the line.
Jada found her sister with a pass through the defense in the 11th minute to set up the first score of the game. Jasmine Colbert dribbled by a pair of defenders and buried a shot to the upper part of the goal from 10 yards out.
"We knew we weren't going to be able to attack directly, so we had to make sure we were moving diagonally today and switching the ball across the field," Jasmine Colbert said. "I was able to get space early in the game, Jada and Nicole Whitley both set me up with two great passes and I was able to take the space and hit two good shots.
Senior Nicole Whitley set up the second goal with a ball through the defense on the right side that Jasmine Colbert ran onto and one-timed inside the near right post for a 2-0 Patriots lead with 1:30 left in the first half.
"Nicole Whitley's a phenomenal player, but we've seen a lot of teams - including Boro the last time we played - crowd her with defenders," Freehold Township coach Dave Patterson said. "So we've been asking her to check back for the ball a little more and try to play with the runners on the outside and with the speed that Jasmine and Jada has, it makes us very dangerous."
Jada Colbert and Whitley each added another assist in the second half, with Whitley sending a ball through to senior Olivia Schwartz, who one-timed a left-footed shot that tucked into the far right corner of the goal in the 50th minute.
Junior Kristen Romano capped the scoring by one-timing a cross from Jada Colbert in the 79th minute.
Although Freehold Township finished the game with a 4-0 cushion, Freehold Boro got the ball past Patriots goalkeeper Kaela Chadziutko twice in the second half, only to have their efforts thwarted both times. First, Victoria Coppa headed the ball off the end line midway through the second half and later, Alyssa Reszkowski knocked two shots off the line within a matter of seconds.
The crosstown rivalry was an early challenge for Freehold Township in the Central Jersey IV Tournament. During the regular season, Freehold Boro battled Freehold Township to a 1-1 draw in the first meeting between the teams before Freehold Township earned a hard-fought 3-1 win in the second meeting.
"We were really looking to look early and to look wide," Patterson said. "When we go down the middle like we tried to do against Colts Neck in the Shore Conference Final - and they have a defender in Amanda Visco just like Freehold Boro has Jenna Husky - that doesn't work. We really looked to attack on the outsides with the diagonal runs and that's where we were able to find our space."
Freehold Township is one win shy of a sectional final appearance after reaching the Shore Conference Tournament final on Saturday. The Patriots lost a 1-0 decision to Colts Neck in the SCT final, but has bounced back with two wins by a combined score of 11-0. In the two games, Jasmine Colbert has scored three goals while Whitley has accounted for a goal and four assists.
"We prepare every single day, mentally and physically, especially in the postseason and the girls stepped up," Patterson said. "After making that runs through the Shore Conference Tournament, they knew coming into the state tournament, they just had to do the same thing. If we come with that same focus, that same energy, that same desire, they know they can go far."