Girls Soccer – RBC Edges Vianney in Non-Public A South Quarterfinals
HOLMDEL - Red Bank Catholic girls soccer coach Frank Lawrence was thrilled to see one of his players apply some advice he gave her one day earlier and was equally happy to see that he did not have to say anything to his senior goalkeeper seeking a dose of redemption.
Junior Sophie Demurjian drilled a shot to the upper right part of the goal in the 60th minute and senior goalkeeper Jackie Robinson turned in a shutout in net to help lead the Caseys - the No. 5 seed in the NJSIAA Non-Public A, South Jersey bracket - to a 1-0 win over No. 4 and rival St. John Vianney on Thursday.
After St. John Vianney dominated play for a 25-minute stretch to open the game, Red Bank Catholic began to make progress going into the half and even more so coming out of the halftime huddle. The Caseys broke through for the first and only goal of the game in the 60th minute, when sophomore Jyllissa Harris played the ball through to Demurjian and set her up for a shot on goal.
As she set herself up to strike the ball, both her and her coach thought back to a conversation Lawrence said took place on Wednesday at practice.
"She's got this rocket of a shot, but there are times you don't hit it that hard," Lawrence said. "It's more about placement and she and I had this conversation yesterday about that. That's what you love to see as a coach. Something you talk about in practice and she walked out on the field, used it in the game and got the goal we needed."
Demurjian heeded her coach's advice and squared up a shot from just inside the 18-yard box to the upper right corner of the goal to break the scoreless tie.
"It's more about where you place it, not how hard you hit it," Demurjian said. "I wanted to get it in the side netting somewhere and it worked out."
From there, the Red Bank Catholic defense held off a charge from the Lancers, who outshot Red Bank Catholic 10-4. Robinson made six shots and controlled the six-yard box late in the match to earn the shutout.
"The last 20 minutes, everyone was tied, to say the least," Robinson said. "We really just buckled down and held them there and gave it everything we had."
In the lone regular-season meeting between the two teams this season, Robinson made a mistake in goal to allow St. John Vianney to score the lone goal of that game - a 1-0 victory for the Lancers. The four-year starter in goal would allow no such luxury to St. John Vianney on Thursday.
"We look back at that game as one of the games we let get away from us," Lawrence said. "When you look at the stats, when you look at everything about that game, we should have won that game. We gave up a bad goal and I'm sure if you talk to Jackie, she'd say it's the worst goal she gave up in her life."
"I felt very confident that if I played to the best of my abilities, the defense would have my back," Robinson said. "I think the goal they scored in the regular season, I take responsibility for it, personally. Our defense played amazing in that game as well and today, they really shut it down and made it easy for me."
During Vianney's push to scoring in the final two minutes, Olivia Duffy drew a foul within a yard from the edge of the 18-yard box, giving the Lancers a direct kick instead of a penalty kick - which would have been awarded if the foul had occured on the other side of the line. Robinson saved a shot by Samantha Wiles to thwart the threat.
Red Bank Catholic will now travel to play top-seeded Holy Cross in Monday's sectional semifinal. The 16-4-1 Crusaders will have to deal with an RBC team that, since the 1-0 loss to Vianney on Oct. 3, has gone 8-3 with the three losses coming to Colts Neck, Wall and Freehold Township - all of which were Shore Conference Tournament semifinalists. The Caseys are also 7-1 over their last eight with just an overtime loss to Freehold Township in the Shore Conference Tournament going against them.