Members of the Freehold girls soccer team will not be satisfied with just winning a division title this season.
The players and coach Elyse Ingui want more.
While the players have set lofty goals for themselves, coach Ingui said the talent is present on the roster for the goals to be accomplished.
“I really want to see these girls win something. If not a division title, a sectional title or a Shore Conference title,” Ingui said. “I think in my opinion that they are good enough to be able to achieve something like that and they are young enough to have the energy and desire to do it.”
The Colonials return 10 of 11 starters including co-captains, Asbury Park Press All-Shore first team goalie senior Sara Cobb, and All-Shore second team midfielder junior Meghan Holtz.
“We were happy with the way we played last season. Obviously we were upset with losing in the championship game of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III bracket,” said Cobb, who had 11 shutouts last season and enters this season with 32 career shutouts. “But that just got us a lot more motivated for this year. We want to redeem ourselves and show everyone what we really can do.”
Cobb has started since her freshman year and was the last line of defense for a Colonials’ squad that allowed just 12 goals in 20 games last season when the team went 15-5. Of her 11 shutouts last season, two came in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III bracket.
When the Colonials had to go to overtime or even to penalty kicks, Cobb was at her best. She was 5-0 in overtime games and won two penalty kick shootouts. As good as Cobb was last season, she also had plenty of help as the Colonials flourished.
“We have Meghan Holtz and she controls the center of the field for us and we have a strong defense coming back,” Cobb said. “Our defense is senior Chelsei Bender (going to Mississippi State to play soccer), junior Christina Stabile, sophomore Lindsay Cerio and we have sophomore Sophia Duffy joining us.”
The Colonials are off to a 3-0 start as of Friday’s games with a 2-0 victory over Matawan, which avenged last year’s 1-0 loss to the Huskies in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III final, and with a 6-0 victory over Red Bank and with a 8-0 triumph over Long Branch. However, the Colonials know they have big challenges ahead in their division.
“Right now Wall and Ocean based on what we’ve seen. On Monday, Sept. 10. Wall beat Ocean, 2-1, and those two are going to be big competitors for us,” Ingui said. “Hopefully everyday the girls step up and play like it is the best team they’ve ever played against.”
Those Class B North division showdowns will come on Thursday, Sep. 20 (vs Wall at 3:45 p.m.) and Monday, Sept. 24 (vs Ocean at 3:45 p.m.). But Holtz also has her eye on other teams that should contend for the Shore Conference Tournament title and for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III title, both honors that Freehold wants for itself.
“I definitely see Freehold Township, Red Bank Catholic, Colts Neck and Wall as good competitors in the Shore Conference,” said Holtz, who had 11 goals and two assists last season and is Freehold’s leading scorer returning this season. “And for the states, Colts Neck again.”
The Colonials had a lot to be proud of last season. The made it to the quarterfinals of the Shore Conference Tournament and the final of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III bracket.
In the regular season, they went 10-2 in the Class B North division to win the public school title after Red Bank Catholic went 10-1-1 in the division to win the non-public title. But with new realignment of Class B North this year, only one school will be the champion since the newly realigned division features all public schools with Freehold, Wall, Ocean and Matawan as the strongest contenders for the division title.
“I know that these girls have felt last year that they didn’t get the recognition that they deserved,” Ingui said. “We had a season last year where we weren’t expected to do anything and we really proved to people that we are a competitor in the Shore Conference.”