Bulldogs win 15th straight to advance to final

Bulldogs win 15th straight to advance to final

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Bulldogs win 15th straight to advance to final

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HOLMDEL

Senior midfielder Emma Fitzgerald scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lead the second-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven field hockey team to a 2-1 victory over the sixth-seeded St. John Vianney in the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament on Wednesday night at Holmdel High School.

Rumson (17-1) continued their dominance this season, winning their 15th straight game to advance to their first SCT Final in school history, according to third year head coach Julie Vaccarelli.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Vaccarelli. “We have never been to a SCT final, so it is really exciting. “I felt like we struggled a little finishing in the circle, but we are definitely working on that so we can have more opportunities to score especially on our penalty corners.”

In the first half, it was a constant battle back and forth for each team as they struggled to put off shots. The Bulldogs had five corners in the first half, compared to the Lancers’ one corner.

At the end of the first half, the Lancers (12-4-2) had zero shots on net, and the Bulldogs also struggled with only three shots attempted.

With three minutes gone by in the second half, freshman Madison Maguire drew a penalty stroke following a scramble in front of the cage. Stepping up to take the stroke, Maguire shot the ball past goalkeeper Megan Guilbert to break the scoreless tie to give Rumson a 1-0 lead.

The Lancers got on the board with 2:45 remaining in the game after they won a penalty corner that allowed junior Jackie Gallagher to take a bullet shot from the left-hand side of the field to slip past goalkeeper Sarah Moore to knot the game at 1. The Lancers defense held up in the remaining minutes to force the game to go into overtime.

The Bulldogs came out strong to start the first overtime putting pressure on the Lancer defense right away that allowed Fitzgerald to quickly score the game-winning goal 2:54 into overtime to advance the Bulldogs to the SCT finals.

“Today was a tough game and it was a team effort,” said Fitzgerald. “I wanted to do it for everyone, and it feels awesome to help my team out in that way and go to the finals.

“We are going to continue to work hard, and I am happy that I will be able to compete in such a big game.”

The Bulldogs remained aggressive for the entire game, outshooting the Lancers 10-6 on the night.

Goalkeeper Moore collected three saves in the win. For the Lancers, goalie Guilbert made seven saves in the loss.

The Bulldogs will play against defending champions Shore Regional on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Blue Devils defeated Freehold in their semifinal game 5-0, and they will seek their 14th straight SCT title.

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