Two of the Shore Conference’s best needed extra time to decide a winner as No. 2 Manalapan defeated No. 6 Middletown South 4-3 in a Class A North matchup. Senior Sydney Spilsbury scored the golden goal three minutes into overtime after sophomore Daniella Butash’s free kick that was awarded due to a hand ball by Middletown South.

“Somehow the ball deflected at the six and I just saw the ball bouncing around and I crossed the net and just hit it,” Spilsbury said about her game winner.

The game did not start the way Manalapan hoped it would. Middletown South scored first in the 14th minute when junior Grace Gironda bent in a corner kick. 

In the 30th minute, Manalapan senior goalkeeper Emma Guidotti was injured and sophomore Leila Shaw came in to replace her. Guidotti missed last season due to an ACL injury and Thursday's injury was to the same knee. The injury woke the Braves up and they scored in the following minute off senior Vanessa Sarf’s goal. She took the ball 30 yards up field and dribbled by a defender to beat the goalie. 

“When we see one of our teammates and one of our leaders go down last year and sit out the whole season and have a 12 month recovery to get to this point and to see what happened, it shows the heart that they have,” Manalapan coach John Rogers said. “They really picked it up and it showed how much they love each other and the family we are building.”

The Eagles responded to take the lead in the 36th minute and into halftime when sophomore Bea Tinoco shot the ball off a diving Shaw’s fingers and inside the far post. 

Manalapan took control in the second half and tied the game in the 57th minute off Zina Hammarstrom blast from the 18 yard-line. The Braves took the lead in the 67th minute when Sarf scored her second goal of the game, giving her six on the year. After the goal Sarf cramped up and had to come out and could not get back in until overtime started. 

Middletown South fought back and scored the equalizer in the 77th minute. The Eagles sent a ball into the box and it was headed out right to junior Izzy Dyas, who shot it from the 18 yard-line. 

“Vanessa played fantastic and it was one of her better games of the year and we just found a way to come back and tie it,” Rogers said. “We just kept going and we kept fighting and looking for chances. It does not need to be perfect every time and sometimes you just need to get something on it. I tell them you play every game like its your last and you won’t regret whatever happens.”

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