Red Bank Catholic senior forward Mackenzie Cowley showed her athleticism in double overtime of the Caseys’ Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinal game against visiting Colts Neck on Monday evening.
After having her initial shot in double overtime denied by the crossbar, the rebound trickled away to the right side of the net but the ball was redirected back to Cowley and the second time, she didn’t miss.
Cowley’s game-winning goal 2:23 into double overtime lifted the fifth-seeded Caseys past the 13th-seed Cougars, 3-2.
“Honestly, I saw it hit the crossbar and I went black but then I saw the ball coming at me and my first instinct was just hit it again,” Cowley said. “Luckily, this time it went in. I had no idea where the goalie was but I just knew I had to go up with the ball but didn’t want to hit the crossbar again.”
Cowley’s goal ended almost 26 minutes of high-intensity soccer, as neither team scored in the first half and the first goal of the game didn’t come until 23:21 left in the second half.
“You get in the flow of the game and you start to get vibes. I just felt like we had this confidence but we couldn’t finish but we knew it was coming,” Red Bank Catholic coach Ken Santos said of the game-winning goal. “We hit the crossbar three or four times but the girls kept their heads up. At the beginning of the second overtime, they said we are going to end it here, no penalty kicks.”
And that’s what the Caseys (17-1) did.
The game was tied at 2 after regulation. Colts Neck got the only two shots of the first overtime and both were saved by Red Bank Catholic freshman goalie Jackie Robinson (six saves). The Caseys got the only two shots of the second overtime and Cowley’s goal put the Caseys into Wednesday’s 7 p.m. SCT semifinal against No. 1 seed Freehold.
“It was two incredible teams giving it everything they got. Somebody was going to get a piece of magic and that team was going to win,” Colts Neck coach Doug Phillips said. “At this point in time, there is no shame in winning or losing. It had been a phenomenal game.”
It was scoreless soccer for 56 minutes before Red Bank Catholic junior midfielder Liz Thoreson scored at 56:39, giving the Caseys a 1-0 lead. The Caseys didn’t have much time to celebrate as Colts Neck tied it a 58:21 on Amanda Visco’s goal. The Cougars (10-5-1) took the lead on a nifty play on a free kick play from Danielle Krachie.
Krachie lofted the ball over the Red Bank Catholic defense on the right side of the field and junior Oti Laki ran onto the ball and blasted a shot from the right side to the left corner for the lead at 65:55.
That lead didn’t last long as Colts Neck was called for a handball in the box and a penalty kick was awarded to Thoreson at 74:14. Thoreson kicked the ball to the right side just out of the reach of Colts Neck sophomore Megan Royle (12 saves) and that eventually forced the extra sessions.