Girls Soccer – No. 7 Brick Memorial Upsets No. 3 Howell 2-1 to Open 2023 Season.
Opening day has finally arrived and even though we had some delays due to the high temperatures, we had a battle of two top ten teams to start the season. Brick Memorial, ranked No. 7 in the Shore Sports Network Shore 16 defeated No. 3 Howell 2-1 under the lights in Brick Township.
The Mustangs struck fast when senior Chloe Gellici got open in front of the net and put home a pass from junior Brooke DeAlmeida in the fourth minute of the game. Gellici did not wait long to get her second goal of the season, which came five minutes later in the ninth minute. She made a long run on the outside, cut in with the ball and slotted it near post, upper corner to make it 2-0.
“She was a stud tonight,” Brick Memorial coach Billy Caruso said about Gellici. “Last year, Chloe would do that and shank it wide or hit the post. I am hoping that is a sign for good things to come for Chloe.”
Gellici almost finished her hat trick in the 17th minute when she received a cross from junior Maggie Allen, but her shot hit the post.
“I was just trying to score as many goals as I can so we can come out on top,” Gellici said. “Coach told us we are the underdogs and we had to go in and battle and make a statement in the Shore Conference.”
The Rebels settled down midway through the first half and put some pressure on Brick Memorial goalkeeper, junior Giselle Lizardi. In the 28th minute, Rebels senior Leila Oshiro created a great shot that forced Lizardi to make a diving save. Lizardi followed that up with another hard save off a shot from freshman Makenzie Memmolo.
“I guess Giselle is a secret weapon but she is not a secret weapon to us,” Caruso said. “We know she is going to have a great year and I trust her as much as any goalkeeper that has ever played here.”
Howell controlled more of the second half and applied heavier pressure that forced the Brick Memorial defense to work. The Rebels broke onto the board in the 59th minute, when Memmolo scored her first career goal to make it 2-1.
Rebel forward, junior Ashley Smith, caused problems on the outside with her speed, but the Mustang defense was able to keep her from any clean looks at the net. Sophomore defender Reese Keane did a good job slowing Smith down and was very effective with her tackling.
“I knew we had to relax for a little bit and play our game,” Lizardi said about her defense in the final minutes of the game. “I told them (defenders) that we needed to keep clearing the ball out because they were right up on us.”
Brick Memorial’s schedule does not get any easier as they travel to Red Bank to play No. 4 Red Bank Catholic on Saturday at 10:00 am. Howell hosts No. 10 Wall Saturday at 10:00 am.