OAKHURST - Before anyone wearing a Wall jersey, on the Wall sideline or rooting for the Wall girls soccer team in the stands at Ocean Township High School had enough time to let the anxiety of letting a three-goal lead potentially slip away in the Shore Conference Tournament final Thursday night, the ball was in the back the top-seeded Freehold Township goal courtesy of senior Jenna Karabin.

Karabin was not part of Wall's last Shore Conference Tournament championship team in 2014 like a number of her classmates, but she was right in the middle of the Crimson Knights latest SCT title, which they clinched with a wild, 4-2 win over previously unbeaten Freehold Township.

"She does not like to lose," Wall coach Mike Juska said of Karabin. "She wants to score a goal. She's special and she really put on a show tonight. It was great to watch."

Photo by Steve Meyer.
Photo by Steve Meyer.

Karabin recorded her second career hat trick in Wall's win and the biggest of her three goals came when her team was in most need of a spark. Karabin scored her second goal on an 18-yard strike in the 60th minute to put Wall ahead, 3-0, but Freehold Township scored twice in a span of under two minutes to suddenly pull within a goal with 12:50 left.

Just 16 seconds after senior Jasmine Colbert scored to draw the Patriots within 3-2 and seemingly swing the momentum all the way back in favor of the top seed, Karabin nailed a shot to the far left side netting to push the lead back to 4-2 with 12:34 left to play.

"I think their defense relaxed a little bit," Karabin said. "Nobody expects to give up a goal 10 seconds after they score one, but I saw a chance to go at the goal and I had to take it. We had to get another goal to get the lead back to two. It was kind of lucky, I guess. I don't think I could ever do that again."

"It all happened so fast," said senior Hailee Reinhardt, who finished with two assists. "Everything was all frantic, but we knew we had to settle down and knew we still had it in us to win. Once we saw her finish, we all calmed back down."

Wall spent nearly all of those 12-plus remaining minutes in its own end under pressure from the Patriots, but the Crimson Knights defense and sophomore keeper Jordan Cheche kept the lead at two goals until the final whistle.

Karabin's three goals capped a huge Shore Conference Tournament for the senior forward. In four SCT games, Karabin scored eight goals, including six over the last three games with leading scorer Amy Paternoster sidelined with a sprained right foot.

"I knew without Amy, teams were going to take us lightly up top," Jenna Karabin said. "I knew that when I got the opportunity, I had to finish and capitalize on my shots and I feel like I did that."

"Jenna Karabin is just a winner," Juska said. "She was off when (Freehold Township) scored those two goals. They have the Colbert twins and they are very dangerous. They can score goals in a hurry. All of a sudden, it's 3-2, (Karabin) comes back onto the field, takes on three players and just buries the ball in the side netting. Basically, all the momentum that they got a couple minutes earlier was just deflated."

Wall jumped out to a 1-0 lead 14:01 into the game on Karabin's first goal. Lauren Karabin got the ball to the touch line and crossed the ball into the box from left to right and Jenna Karabin tracked it to the front of the goal, where she popped a shot over Freehold Township goalkeeper Alessia La Rosa.

The Crimson Knights added a big goal 1:20 before halftime on a header by sophomore Marissa Sciorilli on a corner kick by Reinhardt. Sciorilli hit a dangerous shot that La Rosa saved to force the corner, then knocked her header into the left side netting for her first career goal.

"I was honestly so happy for her," Reinhardt said. "Every time she's been coming on the field, she's been working so hard and I think she reallt deserved that. I was so proud of her."

"Almost 60 percent of our games, she hasn't gotten much playing time," Juska said. "With Amy down, though, she's the next person up and she scores a goal. It's just another illustration of our depth."

Freehold Township's two-goal rally began with a foul that set up Jessica Judge for a 25-yard free kick, which she skipped into the left side of the goal to get Freehold Township on the board. Just 1:27 later, Meaghan Latona knocked the ball into the box, where Colbert gathered it and fired a shot into the left side of the goal to pull the Patriots within a goal.

Thursday's result also revealed how far Wall has come from the early part of the season, which included a 3-1 loss at Freehold Township in a game that the Patriots dominated after falling in an early 1-0 hole on a goal by Paternoster. The Knights also endured a 1-1 draw against Middletown South on Sept. 28, but since then, they have rattled off 10 straight wins.

"We were the favorite to win that game (against Freehold Township), so being the underdog this time really helped us," Jenna Karabin said. "We love being the underdogs and having to prove ourselves."

On of those 10 wins was a 6-2 quarterfinal win over Colts Neck, which was the team that eliminated Wall in the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals in each of the past two seasons and also beat Wall in the NJSIAA Group III Tournament in both 2014 and 2015. Wall last won the SCT by beating Colts Neck in the 2014 final and despite losing to the Cougars in last year's conference semifinals, the Crimson Knights went on to win a share of the overall Group III championship.

After entering Thursday with Freehold Township as the team's only loss, Wall now made sure it is Freehold Township's lone defeat as well.

"We in as freshmen winning the Shore Conference and now winning it as seniors is such a good feeling," Reinhardt said. "Beating Colts Neck was huge. They took this away from us so many times, so to take it away from them was such a good feeling and to now walk out our senior year winning the Shore Conference is such a great feeling."

Box Score

Wall 4, Freehold Twp. 2

Wall (18-1-1)224
Freehold Twp. (18-1)022

Goals (Assists): (W) Jenna Karabin (Lauren Karabin) 15', Marissa Sciorilli (Hailee Reinhardt) 39', Jenna Karabin (Hailee Reinhardt) 60' Jenna Karabin 68' (FT) Jessica Judge (DK) 66', Jasmine Colbert (Meaghan Latona) 68'
Shots: Wall, 12-11
Saves: (W) Jordan Cheche 3; (FT) Alessia La Rosa 3

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