NJSIAA Group Semifinals

Group 4

Freehold Township 5, Central 1

Junior Gaby Parker scored two goals in the first eight minutes of the match and senior Hailey Santiago scored twice in a span of 3:35 in the second half as the Patriots (19-3) pulled away to beat the Golden Eagles (19-2) and reach the Group 4 final for the fourth straight season.

Parker struck for the first goal of the game two minutes into the match, finishing a through-ball from junior Sophie Tonino. The junior forward connected again in the eighth minute when Taryn Conover headed the ball into the box and Parker lined up a volley that she blasted home.

Central cut its deficit in half on a difficult shot from the right side by senior Arianna Chidiac that bounced off the far left post and in during the 48th minute.

Freehold Township immediately answered when Santiago took a pass from fellow senior Cassidy Corcione and buried it from 25 yards out.

Within four minutes, Santiago struck again, this time from the middle of the 18-yard box off a pass from junior Danielle Howard.

Howard capped the scoring in the 58th off a feed from Santiago.

Freehold Township will face Ridgewood Sunday at Franklin High School in a rematch of last year's Group 4 final, which Freehold Township won, 1-0, on a goal by current senior Ainsley Moy. The Group 4 final will kickoff the quadruple header at 10 a.m.


Group 3

Shawnee 2, Brick Memorial 0

Sophomore midfielder Madelynn Sadusky scored once in each half and Shawnee's defense stifled Brick Memorial's attack to send the Renegades (19-2-1) past the Mustangs (15-5-1) and into the Group 3 state final.

Sadusky gave Shawnee a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute when she finished a pass from senior Mackenzie McCready. She extended the Renegades' lead to 2-0 in the 51st minute when she avoided a Brick Memorial defender just past midfield and unleashed a rocket of a shot from 35 yards out that ricocheted off the crossbar and bounced across the goal line.

McCready had several quality scoring chances in the game and nearly made it 3-0 on a penalty kick in the 55th minute, but Brick Memorial junior goalie Giselle Lizardi dove to her left to make a spectacular save and then made another save on a follow-up shot. Lizardi had a sensational game with seven saves to cap a breakout junior season.

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Bob Badders | rpbphotography.com
Bob Badders | rpbphotography.com

The Mustangs pushed forward over the final 20 minutes but were unable to get many high-danger looks.

"We let them possess the ball way more than we wanted them to, and they were good, don't get me wrong," said Brick Memorial head coach Billy Caruso. "I wished we could have been a little tighter. We pouted a little bit after that goal and let them come at us, but then we fought to the end. Someone has to lose, and that was us."

Shawnee will play Chatham in the Group 3 final at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday at Franklin High School. Chatham defeated Northern Highlands, 2-0, in the other semifinals. Shawnee entered Thursday's game ranked No. 19 in New Jersey by NJ.com. Chatham is ranked No. 3 and Northern Highlands is No. 4.

The defeat concluded Brick Memorial's best season in 15 years as the Mustangs won their first sectional title since 2008 with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Middletown South in extra time on Monday. Most of the team returns next season, but the losses are significant - seniors Lexi and Mia Caruso, Chloe Gellici, Gabby Hernandez, and Ashlee Schlagenhaft.

"It's a special team and I'm going to miss these kids," Caruso said. "When you coach your daughters it's not just coaching your daughters, it's coaching their friends and the kids they grew up with. It was definitely special coaching Lexi and Mia but their friends are just as special because I've known them their whole lives, too. This one hurts because it's over, not because we lost. It's never going to be the same at Brick Memorial again."

Bob Badders | rpbphotography.com
Bob Badders | rpbphotography.com


Group 2

Wall 3, Seneca 3 (Wall wins 2-1 in penalty kicks)

Junior Erin Farrell scored off a rebound to tie the game for Wall in the 78th minute and senior goalkeeper Nelly Bianchi-Nagle made three saves during the penalty shootout to send the Crimson Knights (13-3-3) to the Group 2 championship game for the second straight year.

After falling behind in the first five minutes and trailing, 1-0, at halftime, Wall came roaring back in the second half. Junior Samantha Brett buried a penalty kick in the second minute of the second half to tie the game and Wall took a 2-0 lead on an own goal in the 63rd.

Junior Erynn Richey launched a corner kick to the far left post and a Seneca defender attempted to volley it away, but knocked it into the goal.

The Golden Eagles (18-4-2) bounced back thanks to Rutgers commit Gabby Miller, who scored two goals in a span of just over five minutes to swing the lead back to Seneca. Miller slipped a shot inside the near post from a tough angle on the right side in the 70th minute and later connected from 25 yards for a 3-2 lead in the 75th.

In the 78th minute, Farrell crashed the goal on an initial shot and when goalkeeper Genevieve Jenkins's save bounced away from her body, Farrell poked the ball past her for the equalizer.

In the shootout, Miller converted Seneca's first attempt before Bianchi-Nagle saved the next three Seneca attempts. With Wall leading the shootout 2-1 through four rounds, Seneca's fifth attempt hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced on the Wall side of the goal line to end the match.

Seniors Ellie Hartz and Aileen Carr converted Wall's first two shootout attempts.

Wall will take on Ramsey Sunday in the Group 2 championship game at Franklin High School, with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m.


Group 1

Point Beach 3, Audubon 0

Sophomore Baileigh Johnson scored one goal and assisted the other two Point Beach goals as the Garnet Gulls (15-3) upended the Green Wave (19-2-2) to reach the Group 1 final for the second straight year.

Johnson found junior Izzy Kurzon for the finish in the 33rd minute to give Point Beach a 1-0 lead that the Garnet Gulls took into halftime.

Five minutes into the second half, Johnson got a goal of her own, which came off an assist from freshman Katie Kirchner.

Junior Gabby Kirchner capped the scoring and put the game away in the 72nd minute off of Johnson's second assist of the match.

Point Beach will face Mountain Lakes in the Group 1 championship game for the second straight year on Sunday, 12:30 p.m., at Franklin High School. The Garnet Gulls will be looking to avenge last year's 5-1 loss to the Lakers.


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