Surf Taco Week 6 Girls Soccer Team of the Week: Howell
The Shore Conference has, arguably, been the best girls soccer conference in the state over the last half-decade or so and the most disputable part of that statement is the term "arguably."
Year after year, teams from the Shore are sprinkled throughout the state Top 20 and fill out multiple spots in the NJSIAA state finals, and that is just the teams that make it that far. There are even more quality teams flying under the radar and this season has confirmed that.
With some of the major girls programs in the Shore Conference running into trouble, there has been a group of teams ready to seize their opportunity and no team has embodied that more than Howell. The Rebels play in a stacked Shore Conference Class A North division with the likes of Freehold Township, Middletown South, Manalapan and Middletown North -- all of which have been decorated teams for at least part of the last five year.
This year, it has been Howell's turn to shine in its loaded division and loaded conference. Last week, the Rebels handled St. Rose and took down Manalapan in back-to-back rounds of the Shore Conference Tournament to reach the SCT semifinals for the first time -- an accomplishment that earns them the six Surf Taco Team of the Week Award.
After earning the last bye past the first round as the No. 6 seed, Howell started its 2022 SCT run with a bang, particularly its senior Riley Borenstein. With some help from sophomore Madelyn Roberto, Borenstein scored all three goals in the 3-0 win over the Purple Roses, which sent Howell to the SCT quarterfinals. Roberto set the first two up with pinpoint corner-kick services, with Borenstein getting on the finishing end of both.
Next up for the Rebels was rival Manalapan -- a team that made the trip to the SCT semifinals a season ago and earned the No. 3 seed in this year's field. The two A North teams played to a 1-1 draw during the regular season on Howell's home turf and in order to earn an elusive trip to the SCT semifinals, the Rebels would have to win on Manalapan's grass pitch.
In Saturday's quarterfinal, it only took one goal to get the win and it was Howell that delivered. Sophomore Ashley Smith knocked in a cross from junior Leila Oshiro midway through the first half for the game's lone goal and the Rebels closed out the 1-0 victory over the Braves.
Howell will take on another upstart and former 2022 Team of the Week in Point Pleasant Boro in Wednesday's SCT quarterfinal at Memorial Field in Neptune, with the Rebels looking to add a first ever trip to the SCT final to their list of accomplishments in 2022.
2022 Team of the Week Winners