Girls Soccer 2023 NJSIAA Sectional Semifinals

Central Jersey Group IV

(1)  Freehold Township 4, (5) Howell 0

Freehold Township scored a pair of goals in both halves to defeat division rival Howell and advance into the CJG4 finals for the third straight season. The Patriots, who are finally at full strength, showed how dangerous they by virtue of their three different goal-scorers.

Senior Cassidy Corcione scored the game's first goal in the 20th minute when she recovered the ball from 25 yards away and ripped a low shot that made it around defenders into the corner of the goal. Senior Hailey Santiago kept the pressure on Howell’s defense and scored four minutes later off a pass from Ainsley Moy to make it 2-0.

Moy, who set a single season record for assists at Freehold Township, finished with three assists in the game and has 23 on the season. Moy also did a great job slowing down Howell midfielder Jade Vieira, who has the ability to take control of a game. 

Tom Smith |
Tom Smith |

“I have watched Howell play a lot this year,” Freehold Township coach Dave Patterson said. “Every time Jade runs the middle of the field and she is a fantastic player, but we did a really good job keying in on her and limiting her chances on 50-50 balls.”

Senior defender Grace Miraglia helped control the back line for Freehold Township and prevented Howell’s leading scorer, Makenzie Memmolo, from creating any chances. 

“I had a big role to play in the game because I know they have a lot of talented forwards,” Miraglia said. “I knew we needed to lock it down and prevent them from even touching the ball. It was a team effort to not allow any goals.”

Howell had two good chances in the second half off free kicks, but junior Ashley Moore was able to come off the line and fight through traffic to get her hands on the ball. 

Howell had a good chance to get back into the game in the 70th minute, but the Patriot defense cleared the ball out of the box after a scramble. Freehold Township took over after that and got two goals from junior Gaby Parker within 30 seconds of each other in the 73rd minute. 

“I think we connected so well today,” Miraglia said. “It has been a while since we have connected like this and I think having all of us back together and being all on the field again gave us our groove back.”

Freehold Township will host No. 3 Manalapan on Monday in a rematch of last year’s CJG4 final. Freehold Township came back to win that game, 2-1. Manalapan defeated Freehold Township in overtime this year to end Freehold Township’s 46-game unbeaten streak against Shore Conference opponents. 


(3) Manalapan 1, (2) Monroe 0

In a back-and-forth game, Manalapan was able to strike first and hold on to a 1-0 lead to defeat No. 2 Monroe and return to the CJG4 finals for the second straight season. 

Senior Vanessa Sarf received a pass from Savanna DiSabato in the 56th minute and got by three defenders to score the game's lone goal. 

“This was a total team effort,” Manalapan coach John Rogers said. “We knew going into this we were in for a battle and our defense answered for us again. We kept knocking on the door all game and knew in the second half we needed to finish one and luckily Savannah (DiSabato) played a great ball to Vanessa (Sarf) and she was able to bury it to give us the lead.”

Monroe had several chances in the game, but the best chance came towards the end of the first half when a midfielder took a shot from 40 yards away and sophomore goalie Leila Shaw was able to knock it over the crossbar. 

“Shaw has only continued to grow and it was this stretch of games last year where she really took that next step,” Rogers said. “You would never know she’s a sophomore, she has been awesome back there for us and really stepped up to keep us at 0-0 making that save.”

Manalapan will travel to No. 1 Freehold Township on Monday in a rematch of last year’s CJG4 final. 


Central Jersey Group III

(1) Middletown South 2, (4) Steinert 0

After controlling majority of the play in the first half, Middletown South was finally broke through to score in the 34th minute and added an insurance goal late in the second half to defeat No. 4 Steinert, 2-0, and return to the CJG3 finals for the second straight season. 

Freshman Hayley Jamison scored her fourth goal of the season off a corner kick from Grace Gironda, who picked up her 15th and 16th assists of the season, to give the Eagles the lead before halftime. 

Grace Gironda (Photo by Eric Braun)
Grace Gironda (Photo by Eric Braun)

“Gracie Gironda has always been and continues to be an impact player on our team,” Middletown South coach Megan Barry said. “She has played almost every minute of every game since she was a freshman. This season, the stats are proof of how much she brings to the table. She takes most of our set pieces and executes them beautifully.”

Sophomore Bea Tinoco provided an insurance goal in the 72nd minute off a pass from Gironda. Tinoco came close several times throughout the game and applied pressure to Steinert's defense. 

“We have not won back-to-back titles since I began coaching at South,” Barry said. “We know from last year Brick Memorial is a team that will show up and compete, so we have to continue to do what we’ve been doing, play with intensity, with intelligence and as a united front.”

Middletown South will host No. 3 Brick Memorial on Monday in a rematch of last year’s CJG3 finals. Middletown South won, 3-2, in overtime last year. 


(3) Brick Memorial 6, (7) Northern Burlington 2

Brick Memorial has not left anything to chance so far this postseason after being eliminated the last two seasons in extra time. After winning, 5-0, in the quarterfinal, the Mustangs scored three goals in each half to defeat No. 7 Northern Burlington.

The Mustangs have several weapons that score and each game, a different player has stepped up. Senior Lexi Caruso led the way Thursday with two goals and two assists and senior Gabby Hernandez added a goal and two assists. 

Gabby Hernandez (Photo by Eric Braun)
Gabby Hernandez (Photo by Eric Braun)

“I did not expect today,” Brick Memorial coach Billy Caruso said. “Our girls came to play big time and I am very proud of them. Middletown South is a quality team and the number one seed for a reason and I hope we can match this same effort on Monday.”

Brick Memorial will travel to No. 1 Middletown South on Monday in a rematch of last year's CJG3 finals. Middletown South defeated Brick Memorial last year in overtime, 3-2. 


Central Jersey Group II

(5) Wall 1, (16) Holmdel 0

Wall scored a first-half goal and held on to knock off division rival Holmdel in the semifinals of CJG2, 1-0. This will be Wall’s fifth straight trip to the finals and a rematch of last year’s finals against Rumson-Fair Haven.

Junior Erin Farrell scored the game-winner off Erynn Richey’s corner late in the first half for Wall. Wall has been able to take advantage of Richey’s set pieces all season, giving her 10 assists on the season. 

Erin Farrell (Photo by Eric Braun)
Erin Farrell (Photo by Eric Braun)

Richey’s free kicks and corner kicks have been super dangerous for us,” Wall coach Annie Menafra said. “It also helps that we have multiple players in the box who can get a head on the ball. We know when we get a corner kick we have a good chance of putting the ball in the back of the net.”

Wall will travel to No. 3 Rumson-Fair Haven on Monday in a repeat of the CJG2 championship last season. Wall won that game, 2-0, on the way to the Group 2 final. 

(3) Rumson-Fair Haven 2, (2) Manasquan 1 (OT)

Sophomore Reagan Haley headed in the golden goal off corner kick from junior Aubrey Scoble and the Bulldogs rallied to beat the Warriors in overtime and reach the sectional final for the second consecutive season.

The game-winner was the first goal of the season for Haley, who pushed forward from her position on the back line to crash the goal on Scoble’s corner kick in the sixth minute of overtime. Scoble served the corner kick to the front of the goal and Haley was the first to get her head to the ball and hammer it in.

"I thought it would be my chance," Haley said. "Aubrey always has the best corners, so I snuck behind the defender, because I knew they weren’t expecting me to go in. I saw the ball coming and I just gave it my everything to put it in the back of the net."

Manasquan jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a low, 20-yard shot by senior Renee Herbert in the 30th minute and nearly added a second goal just before the half when senior Bianca Chiarella ripped a shot that drilled the right post. Senior Kali Saito had a chance at a follow-up finish facing an exposed goal, but also hit the post just before the first-half clock expired. Chiarella also hit the right post in the 24th minute.

Rumson turned the tide in the second half against Manasquan’s defense, which played without injured right back Rylie Rampone for the entirety of the second half. The Bulldogs broke through when senior Ellan Mason beat a host of defenders up the left side, turned the corner and buried a shot inside the near post.

After surviving a road test in overtime, Rumson will host the sectional final against No. 5 Wall on Monday in a rematch of last year’s Central Group II final. Wall defeated Rumson, 2-0, in last year’s final – also at Rumson.


Central Jersey Group I

(3) Point Pleasant Beach 5, (2) Riverside 0

For the fourth straight season, Point Beach will be playing in the CJG1 final after defeating No. 2 Riverside, 5-0. 

Point Beach scored four minutes into the game and never looked back. Sophomore Ellie Loffreno scored off a pass from Izzy Kurzon, who also scored the last goal of the game, to open up the scoring. Loffreno assisted junior Gabby Kirchner’s goal in the early moments of the second half. Kirchner had two goals and an assist and her sister Katie added a goal and assist. 

Point Beach will host No. 5 Shore Regional on Monday in the CJG1 finals. Point Beach eliminated Shore Regional last season in the quarterfinals.

(5) Shore Regional 3, (1) Highland Park 0


South Jersey Group IV

(2) Central Regional 1, (6) Cherokee 0 

Junior Riley Billhimer picked a great time to score her first goal of the season, which came in the 72nd minute of the SJG4 semifinals to lift Central over Cherokee, 1-0. Billhimer received the ball on top of the 18 yard-line from Arianna Chidiac, who was able to beat her defender to get the cross off. 

This was the 10th time this season Central has won by one goal, which has prepared the team for the state playoff run they are on. 

We felt like we came up short last year in big moments,” Central coach Marykate Sullivan said. “This year we really wanted to prove that we have what it takes to play with the best and show everyone what Central soccer is all about.”

Central will host No. 4 Kingsway on Monday in the SJG4 Final.


UP NEXT: NJSIAA Sectional Finals

Monday, Nov. 6 (Times to be determined)

Central Jersey Group IV

(3) Manalapan at (1) Freehold Twp.

Central Jersey Group III

(3) Brick Memorial at (1) Middletown South

Central Jersey Group II

(5) Wall at (3) Rumson-Fair Haven

Central Jersey Group I

(5) Shore at (3) Point Beach

South Jersey Group IV 

(4) Kingsway at (2) Central


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