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Girls NJSIAA Tournament

Group Semifinals

Group IV

At Howell High School

Freehold Twp. 3, Eastern 0

Senior Kayla Wong assisted a goal by junior Hailey Santiago in the first half, then tallied two of her own after halftime to lead the Patriots (20-1) past the Vikings (22-2-2) and into the Group IV final at Kean University for the second straight year.

Freehold Township jumped on top in the 27th minute, when Wong took a pass from sophomore Gaby Parker and played it long over the defense. Santiago ran it down and after one touch, finished it for a 1-0 lead and her team-high 23rd goal of the season.

A little more than a minute into the second half, Wong drilled a strike from the edge of the 18-yard box to put the Patriots ahead, 2-0. The Princeton commit then topped that finish with a 30-yard rocket that found the back of the net for a 3-0 lead in the 48th.

Freehold Township will try to finish its Group VI championship quest on Sunday, when the Patriots play Ridgewood for the title at 12:30 p.m. at Kean.


Group III

Cherry Hill West 1, Middletown South 0

Senior Ava Hawk scored the game's lone goal in the 48th minute and the Lions (13-7-3) held on to beat the Eagles (14-5-1) and advance to the Group III championship game for the first time in program history.


Group II

Wall 1, Seneca 0

Senior Kaitlyn Pettit scored the game's lone goal midway through the first half and junior goalkeeper Saige Santa Cruz spearheaded a shutout effort as the Crimson Knights (13-7) beat the Golden Eagles (15-8) to reach the Group II championship game on Saturday at Kean University.

Wall will be making its fourth trip to the group final round of the NJSIAA Tournament since 2016 and will take on West Morris in the 7 p.m. game on Saturday night.


Group I

Point Beach 1, Palmyra 1 -- Point Beach advances on penalties, 5-4

Sophomore Shelby Brunotte scored the equalizer in the 69th minute and converted both of her attempts in the penalty-kick round as the Garnet Gulls (13-6-1) rallied to stun the one-loss Panthers (18-1-3) and earn their first ever trip to the Group I championship game.

With her team trailing, 1-0, Brunotte buried a direct kick to level the score and Point Beach managed to push the game into extra time.

After 20 scoreless overtime minutes, one-half of the Group I final would be decided on penalty kicks. Brunotte converted Point Beach's first attempt and senior goalkeeper Morgan Highland came up with a save on Palmyra's first try.

Point Beach then connected on its next three attempts, with freshman Baleigh Johnson, sophomore Gabby Kirchner and sophomore Samantha Miles all hitting their shots. The fifth attempt, however, cleared the crossbar, giving Palmyra new life.

Brunotte then started off the sixth round of kicks with another make and once again, Highland followed Brunotte's conversion with a save, clinching Point Beach a spot in Saturday's Group I final at Kean University.


Sectional Championship

South Jersey Non-Public A

(7) Paul VI 2, (1) Red Bank Catholic 1

Senior Gianna Romeo scored 1:36 into the match, but Sofia Marchese answered for Paul VI 50 seconds later and Avé Martin scored the winner in the 49th minute as the Eagles (12-7) knocked off the top-seeded Caseys (13-5) to complete their run to the Non-Public A final as the No. 7 seed in the South Jersey section.

Romeo got Red Bank Catholic off to a red-hot start when junior Mya King slipped her a diagonal pass from the left side of the 18-yard box and finished back to the far left post.

Paul VI came right back with the equalizer, which came off a corner kick the Eagle won when Red Bank Catholic senior goalkeeper Peyton Auriemma saved a one-on-one chance right after the Eagles kickoff.

Jordyn Johnson swung in the corner kick and Marchese got the ball under control before slamming in the finish for a 1-1 deadlock.

In the 49th, two RBC defenders collided attempting to defend a pass into the box from Olivia Brocious on the right side of the field and Martin took advantage. She collected the ball, took a dribbled at the goal and finished inside the near right post for the go-ahead score.

Red Bank Catholic's best chance was a far-post service by Romeo that King headed just wide of the near post in the 65th minute.


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