Girls Soccer – Shore Rides Second-half Wave to Win Over Pt. Beach
WEST LONG BRANCH - November has brought out the best in the Shore Regional girls soccer team over the last five years and the second half of Friday's NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I quarterfinal against former divisional rival Point Pleasant Beach brought out the best version of the Blue Devils.
After Point Beach scored two goals in a high-scoring, back-and-forth finish to the first half, Shore dominated the second half en route to a 4-2 win over the Garnet Gulls. With the win, the Blue Devils - the No. 4 seed in the section and the four-time defending sectional champions - advance to the sectional semifinals Tuesday at top-seeded Highland Park.
Freshman Julia Eichenbaum is the latest in the line of first-year varsity players to make a significant impact on a Shore playoff run and was a key contributor Friday. She scored two different go-ahead goals, the second of which gave Shore the lead for good in the fifth minute of the second half.
Sophomore Frankie McDonough, who led the team in scoring as a freshman last year, capped the scoring with a goal in the 74th and also assisted Shore's first goal of the game - a one-time shot from inside the six-yard box by sophomore Hannah Birdsall.
Five of the six total goals scored in the game came during a 17-minute stretch between the first and second halves. Point Beach struck first when freshman Abby Angelucci took a through-ball from senior Reagan Gould in the 28th and finished to the lower left corner for the first of her two goals.
Shore scored the next two goals, the first 34 minutes in on Birdsall's finish on the McDonough cross. The Blue Devils struck again just 46 seconds later on Eichenbaum's first goal. The freshman forward settled a pass to the top of the box from senior Devon McDonough and hammered a 20-yard strike over Point Beach goalkeeper Toni Abdy and just under the bar.
Point Beach came right back to tie the game 1:59 later on Angelucci's second-goal, a 30-yard shot to the far right upper 90.
Shore regained the lead for good 4:10 into the second half when sophomore Lauren Mendillo threw the ball into Eichenbaum, who dribbled through the defense and scored from eight yards out with her left foot.
McDonough capped the scoring off another assist from Mendillo by gathering the pass, beating a defender and hitting a low shot to the far left side netting.
Point Beach and Shore were Class B Central division rivals prior to this year, when the Blue Devils shifted to the Class A Central division, which they won. With Shore no longer in the way, Point Beach won the Class B Central title this season.
Shore will go on the road to take on top-seeded Highland Park in Tuesday's semifinal as the Blue Devils continue their Group I title defense. In addition to winning Central Jersey Group I in each of the past four years, Shore has reached the Group I title game in each of those years as well. The Blue Devils won the outright title last year with an overtime golden goal after losing in two of their previous three trips and sharing the title with Glen Ridge in 2013.
Shore 4, Point Beach 2
|Point Beach (17-2-1)||2||0||2|
Goals (Assists): (PB) Abby Angelucci (Reagan Gould) 28', Abby Angelucci 37'; (S) Hannah Birdsall (Frankie McDonough) 34', Julia Eichenbaum (Devon McDonough) 35', Julia Eichenbaum (Lauren Mendillo) 45', Frankie McDonough (Lauren Mendillo) 74'
Shots: Shore, 24-5
Saves: (PB) Toni Abdy 12; (S) Julia Valinoti 3