Only one public girls soccer team in the Shore Conference played for an NJSIAA state title this season and that was the Shore Regional Blue Devils on Sunday, Dec. 2.
Unfortunately, the Blue Devils lost 2-0 to Glen Ridge in the NJSIAA Group 1 state final but it still didn’t diminish the amazing run the Blue Devils had in the extended NJSIAA postseason due to the unfortunate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“In the beginning of the season, I knew that this team had the potential to be the best girls’ soccer team in Shore Regional’s history and the goal and focus this season was to live up to our potential,” Shore Regional girls soccer coach George Moutis said. “Living up to our potential wasn’t necessarily winning every game this season, but instead putting forth our best effort from the moment the preseason started to the moment the season ended.”
The Blue Devils went 15-7-1 this season and won the Class B Central division title. In the Shore Conference Tournament, the Blue Devils defeated Monsignor Donovan, 3-2, in a first round game before losing to Wall, 3-1, in a SCT round of 16 game.
“The greatest moment of our season was when we had our first practice back after Hurricane Sandy, Coach Lauran Marotta and I are sitting back watching the girls hugging each other and rolling around on the ground, those smiles and laughs are priceless,” Moutis said. “Which in turn developed this unity that brought us to winning the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 title and the team having dedicated that game to the people of the Shore Regional sending districts that were affected by the storm which showed the girls unselfishness, compassion and maturity.”
The No. 2 seed Blue Devils took over the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 bracket and defeated No. 7 South Amboy, 9-0, No. 6 seed Point Beach, 3-1, and No. 1 seed Metuchen, 5-1, to win the NJSIAA CJ Group 1 title on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
“The game that stood out most was the Central Jersey Group 1 Final against Metuchen because I know the girls were under a great deal of pressure having previously reached this point on two previous occasions and lost,” Moutis said. “Yet they didn’t let their nerves get to them or deviate from our style of play and overall played a beautiful game.”
The Blue Devils weren’t done yet.
Shore Regional notched one more victory in a very tough game against South Jersey Group 1 champion Haddon Heights in an NJSIAA Group 1 state semifinal at St. Augustine Prep on Nov. 28. Senior midfielder Caroline Slater and sophomore forward Sam McDonough scored first half goals as the Blue Devils defeated Haddon Heights, 2-1, to advance to the state finals for the first time in school history.
“There were several times during this season that we had as many as four starters out and with every season there is always some adversity but the girls never gave up on one another and worked through those times which brought our team to the most successful season,” Moutis said. “I also believe that the girls knowing that the longer the season goes on the more Greek chocolates their coach would be providing them has been a great incentive to making soccer their No. 1 sport.”
Moutis has been a resident of West Long Branch for the past 27 years and owns and operates his own construction business in Ocean Township with Shore Regional Girls Soccer’s No. 1 fan, his wife Kasandra. Moutis has a 54-44-7 career record at Shore Regional and has won division titles 2009-2012.
Moutis, a native of Greece, played for Ocean Township in 1977 and 1978 and was the second leading scorer in the Shore Conference in 1978. He was recruited by Widener University but after his freshman year transferred to Farleigh Dickinson in Teaneck. Moutis played for FDU-Teaneck 1981-1984 and was voted team MVP for the 1982 season. FDJ-Teaneck’s 1984 men’s soccer team was later inducted into the FDU-Teaneck hall of fame for finishing 3rd in the NCAA Tournament, the best season Farleigh Dickinson Men’s Soccer has ever had.