Girls Soccer – Comeback Not in the Cards as Wall Falls in Group 2 Final
SOMERSET -- Wall was standing on the field at Franklin High School Saturday in the NJSIAA Group II final because the Crimson Knights had enough spirit to come back against Seneca on Thursday in the state semifinal round.
So, when Wall found itself behind by a pair of goals on Sunday night, the Crimson Knights were not giving up on the prospect of a championship.
On this night, a comeback was not to be, as Wall fell, 3-1, to Ramsey, capping the Crimson Knights' season with a defeat in the Group II final for the second straight year.
"It's a bummer," first-year Wall head coach Annie Menafra said. "I feel bad for the seniors. Aileen (Carr), we're going to miss her."
Three days after coming back from two different one-goal deficits to beat Seneca on penalty kicks, Wall found itself behind by a goal two more times on Sunday.
Senior Nina Davis starred for Ramsey with two goals and an assist and staked the Rams to their first lead in the 24th minute. Davis worked through a scrum in front of the goal off a corner kick by Alexa Friedland to finish off the first goal of the game in the 24th minute.
"We knew going into this that they (Wall) were a really good team and we knew that they could come back," Davis said. "I heard from club friends that they are a really good team, so we knew we had to go in and put a couple in the net and our defense really stepped up."
Wall mounted a prompt response, with junior Erin Farrell heading in a corner kick from classmate Erynn Richey 30 minutes into the match. The Crimson Knights rode into halftime with a 7-3 advantage in shots and even with Ramsey, 1-1.
"When they scored on us, I thought it was only a matter of time before we get one," Menafra said. "I thought in the first half, we were dominating. I really thought we were going to win that game based on how they came out in that first half."
The Rams took control in the second half and regained the lead in the 44th, when Davis slipped a pass through to freshman Kendell Reid, who finished to the far left corner of the goal to put Ramsey back ahead, 2-1.
"(Reid) slips by and nobody is marking her," Menafra said. "It is what it is. We said that they counter really quickly and to watch runners and we were just ball-watching. And then the game turned from there."
Wall was still in position to rally, just as it did at Seneca, but the Crimson Knights could not finish the equalizer before the Rams manufactured a third goal. Ramsey tacked on a devastating insurance goal in the 57th minute, when Davis drew a foul inside the 18-yard box and buried the penalty kick.
"At halftime, it was a scary feeling because it was 1-1 and that's not always the best feeling, especially when you score first and give up the lead," Davis said. "We just knew we had to come out at in the second half with a fire under our butts and we did."
Wall's efforts to create a goal that would cut the deficit to one came up empty and the Crimson Knights were left on the wrong side of a state final for the second straight year. Led by center back Aileen Carr, there are 10 seniors on the Wall roster set to graduate, but a host of productive players lined up to return in 2024 -- including Farrell and Richey.
"I couldn't ask for anything better in my first year," Menafra said. "The girls, in general were awesome. Every practice, they practiced hard. They were winners."
Ramsey 3, Wall 1
Goals (Assists): (R) Nina Davis (Alexa Friedland) 24'; (W) Erin Farrell (Erynn Richey) 31'; (R) Kendell Reid (Nina Davis) 44'; (R) Nina Davis (penalty kick) 57'
Shots: Tied, 9-9
Saves: (R) Uma Corcoran 7; (W) Saige Santa Cruz 1; (W) Nelly Bianchi 1