Girls Soccer – Tagliaferri’s Two Goals Lift Colts Neck Back to SCT Finals
Berkeley, NJ- Frankie Tagliaferri's Return Tour continued Wednesday night at Joseph J Boyd Field at Central Regional where the #5 seed Colts Neck girls soccer team took on top-seed Wall Township for a trip back to the Shore Conference Tournament Finals.
After surviving Wall's open kickoff that ended with a shot off the top crossbar, the Cougars rebounded and began to settle down in the final semi-final match of the night. The two teams went back and forth until the senior Tagliaferri found the back of the net 8 minutes into the contest.
After a Colts Neck miss on goal that setup a goal kick for Wall's Alex Panasuk, then senior hit a short goal kick that was intercepted for Frankie about 20 yards out who quickly carried the ball into the box and beat Panasuk low to the corner for a 1-0 Colts Neck lead. Wall who entered the contest only allowing 4 goals on the season now found themselves in an early hole.
Tagliaferri would put the Cougars up 2-0 early in the second half when Kayla Lee feed a beautiful ball past the Wall defense that lead Frankie on a breakaway where she beat Panasuk again low to the corner. Since her return to the Colts Neck lineup after her run with the United States U17 team at the FIFA Women's World Cup, she has tallied 16 goals and helped pace the Cougars to a record of 12-2-1.
On top of the great play from Tagliaferri, it was the exceptional play of the Cougars defense led by Lauren Feaster. The Cougars lost a lot of experience from Last year's undefeated run that was led by Feaster in goal. This season she has transitioned back to her normal spot at center back for Colts Neck and the Cougars defense played the best game of the season on one of the biggest stages.
Coach Doug Phillips on Feaster added "Lauren's play has stepped up each game as she has made her way back to her normal position on the field, she plays that spot for her club team so its nothing new for her, but her poise has quickly led her to one of the top defenders in the Shore."
Wall Township entered the game as probably the hottest team in the Shore and were held in check until late in this game when senior forward Amy Paternoster scored off a rebound cutting the Colts Neck lead to 2-1. Feaster and company shadowed Paternoster all night and limited her scoring attempts. With under three minutes to go it looked like Wall had tied it up but the tying goal was waived off due to an offsides call.
The win pits two A-North teams in Freehold Township and Colts Neck into Saturday's Shore Conference Tournament Championships at 5pm at Central Regional. Freehold Township holds the edge on the Cougars this season going 1-0-1, both games the Cougars played without Frankie.
Afterwards Colts Neck coach Doug Phillips added “I honestly thought we were going to be able to get more going offensively against them, but their defense is everything it is cracked up to be.” He went on to add what the return of Frankie Tagliaferri has meant to his squad, “Obviously, you can’t replace someone of her talent, her two goals were the difference in the game on the scoreboard but it's her leadership that has brought the girls closer together."