Surf Taco Week 3 Girls Soccer Team of the Week: Central
The Central Regional girls soccer team's 2022 season began with a 1-1 draw at Toms River South -- a missed opportunity for a tone-setting win over a perennially tough Shore Conference Class A South opponent.
After another heartbreaker -- a 3-2 loss to Point Pleasant Boro on Sept. 12 -- the Golden Eagles had their resolve tested early and ever since, they have been one of the Shore's toughest teams.
Following the 0-1-1 start, Central rattled off five straight wins, including an eye-opening win over defending NJSIAA South Jersey Group IV champion Toms River North, followed by a 3-0 week last week. With an unbeaten stretch from Sept. 19 through the start of the current week, the Golden Eagles are the Week 3 Surf Taco Girls Soccer Team of the Week.
Central opened eyes around the state with a 3-2, overtime win over Toms River North on Sept. 15, with junior Arianna Chidiac scoring the golden goal after assisting a pair of regulation goals by senior Hannah Lewis. That was the second game in the winning streak, with the Golden Eagles topping Brick, 4-0, two days earlier for their first win of the season.
Last week, Central collected wins over Barnegat, Toms River East and Donovan Catholic to run its record to 5-1-1. Lewis scored in each of Central's 3-0 wins during the week, which came over Barnegat and Donovan Catholic, while Chidiac scored twice in the win over Donovan Catholic.
The close win of the bunch was a 1-0 victory over Toms River East, with junior Samantha Versnel scoring the game-winner in the second half.
Sophomore Riley Billhimer and junior Emma Harmon each scored a goal in the 3-0 win over Barnegat, in which the Golden Eagles scored three second-half goals to seal the victory.
Central's five-game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday, when the Golden Eagles lost a 4-3 classic at Brick Memorial with first place in Class A South on the line. It will take a chain of events for Central to rally to win the Class A South championship, but regardless of whether or not that happens, the Golden Eagles have proven they can play with -- and beat -- top-level competition heading into the postseason.