NJSIAA Girls Soccer Group Finals

Saturday, Nov. 18

At Kean University

Group I Championship

Shore 5, Glen Ridge 4

Sophomore Julia Eichenbaum scored two goals in the final 3:09, including the winning goal with nine seconds left, and the Blue Devils (20-4-2) rallied to beat the Ridgers (15-4-1) and win their third straight Group I title in dramatic fashion.

Eichenbaum settled a cross from senior Kendall Rich and knocked it in to tie the game with 3:09 left. Shore continued to mount pressure over the final three minutes and Eichenbaum struck again when she settled a bouncing ball from junior Hannah Birdsall and hit a left-footed shot from six yards out to set off the celebration.

Shore trailed for the majority of the game, but stayed in it thanks to Birdsall, who scored the first two Blue Devils goals. Her first one was a 30-yard bomb that came 1:18 after a penalty kick by Ridgers sophomore Tara Feenaghty opened the scoring in the 17th minute.

Senior Lindsey Jaiyesimi scored the first of her three goals to give Glen Ridge the lead back in the 21st and scored again off a turnover in the back to make it 3-1 in the 33rd.

Birdsall quickly answered for Shore, punching in a rebound off an initial shot by Eichenbaum 1:06 after Jaiyesimi's second goal.

Jaiyesimi scored her third goal on a counter-attack, with Sydney Mansfield playing her the ball on the ground from the back in the 56th minute.

Junior Frankie McDonough kept Shore within striking distance by bending a 23-yard free kick from the left side in the 60th.


Group II Championship

Wall 4, Westwood 3 (OT)

Hailee Reinhardt served a free kick from 40 yards out off a defender and into the goal for the golden goal with 20 seconds left in the first overtime to give the Crimson Knights (24-1-2) a wild, back-and-forth win over the Cardinals (18-2-3) for their second straight group championship and first ever outright title.

A Westwood foul with 25 seconds left in the first overtime period set up Wall with one more chance to score before heading to the second 10-minute period. Reinhardt played the ball into the middle of the 18-yard box and it went off the head of a leaping Nicolette Lombardi and into the net.

Wall jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by seniors Sarah Gordon and Jenna Karabin in the first 16 minutes, but Westwood responded with three unanswered scores over the next 24 minutes.

Lucy Gehringer converted a penalty kick in the 22nd after a foul in the box by Cara Capra and the Cardinals tied the game when Sarah Levy deflected an attempted clearance into the goal in the 33rd.

Wall pulled even in the 60th on Gordon's second goal of the game, which she scored on a low right-footed shot from 12 yards out off a pass from Lauren Karabin.


Group III Championship

Allentown 2, Middletown South 1

Senior Carly Roche scored the go-ahead goal in the 69th minute and the Cardinals (22-1) outlasted the Eagles (14-6-5) to win their first ever group championship.

Coming off an upset of Northern Highlands - the No. 1 team in the state at the time - Middletown South fell behind 1-0 in the first half but battled back in the second half and pulled even in the 53rd. Senior Christina Sundt lined up a shot from 25 yards out and drilled an upper-90 strike into the back of the net to even up the score at 1-1.

The Eagles held the edge in chances and possession during the first 28 minutes of the second half, but Allentown remained dangerous when it did attack and cashed in on a chance with 11:05 left to play. Roche took a pass from freshman Olivia Ricci, dribbled to her left, turned her hips and fired a left-footed shot to the lower left of the goal.

Allentown jumped ahead in the 32nd minute on a goal by Marin Hartshorn off a corner kick by Emma Pascarella.

Middletown South played in its first Group III final since winning a share of the championship in 2000. The Eagles began the tournament as the No. 5 seed in North Jersey Section 2 Group III and scored wins over top-seeded Somerville and the aforementioned Northern Highlands - which had appeared in six consecutive group finals before losing to Middletown South.


Group IV Championship

Freehold Twp. 0, Ridge 0

For the second time in three years, the Patriots (23-1-1) and the Ridgers (18-4-2) played 100 minutes without scoring against the other and settled for a share of the Group IV championship.

Ridge produced more chances over the course of regulation and the two overtime periods, including a goal that was waved off because of an offsides call as well as several challenges of Freehold Township junior goalkeeper Alessia LaRosa.

LaRosa was up to the challenge, as the junior saved seven shots, including one on a close-range shot in the final three minutes of the second overtime period.

Freehold Township's best opportunity came in the 61st minute, when senior Meaghan Latona poked a shot off the crossbar on a corner kick. Corners were Freehold Township's advantage in the game, with the Patriots earning seven to Ridge's three. Ridge outshot Freehold Township, 11-6.

The co-title is the second in three years for Freehold Township, which are the only two in program history.


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