A slow start for Jackson Memorial proved to be too much to overcome for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV title on Tuesday. After trailing 2-0 at the end of the first half, the Jaguars (23-2) were unable to complete a comeback, falling to Monroe 3-1 in the Group IV final game.
The Falcons (17-7-1) got off to a fast start thanks to the left foot of Sean Doyle early in the third minute. Doyle collected the ball in space and blasted a shot from about 25 yards out past Jackson Memorial goalie Devyn Josko in the 3rd minute.
The Falcons continued to control the pace of the first half, and doubled their lead in the 18th minute. Matt Anderson slipped behind the defense and finished a shot far post off a pass from Doyle.
Jackson Memorial head coach Steve Bado knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming back from the two-goal deficit.
“We played with a lot of heart today and worked really hard,” Bado said.
“I give Monroe credit they capitalized on their chances and held onto their lead.”
The Jaguars showed signs of life at the start of the second half, and took back some of that momentum they lost in the first half. They created more scoring chances, and were able to cut the lead to one goal after a brilliant set piece from Matt Fryc in the 66th minute.
From just outside the 18, Fryc ripped a shot over the wall and into the upper 90 of the goal past Falcon keeper Tyler Utheim.
“I thought at that point that we had a chance to tie it up because we did the same thing against Hunterdon Central,” Bado said.
“We have a never say die team, and we definitely had some chances to try and tie the game up.”
In trying to get the equalizer, the Jaguars moved to three forwards up top and got caught on a counter attack from the Falcons in the 74th minute.
Luigi Buffolino took a through ball from teammate Kyle Kaplan and put the game away for the Falcons.
Even with the disappointing loss there was still much to be proud of for Bado. The Jaguars broke a school record with 23 wins, and were Shore Conference Class A South champions. This was also their first Group IV title game since 2002.
“They did a lot of good things this season,” Bado said.
“I have several guys who are going to be playing in college next year, this clearly isn’t the result that we wanted, but there are still a lot of positives to take out of this year.”
Chris Parker: email@example.com 732 643 4279