The defending Shore Conference Tournament champion Freehold Township girls soccer team got two goals in the second half and defeated Jackson Memorial, 2-0, in an SCT Round of 16 game on Friday afternoon at the Manalapan Recreation Center.
After a scoreless first half, the Patriots (8-2-3) scored early in the second half when Nicole Whitely and Madison Dunn teamed up for the score in the 46th minute.
“(Freshman forward) Nicole Whitley passed the ball to me and I felt a defender on my back,” Freehold Township junior forward Madison Dunn said. “I turned and the goalie came out and I just slipped the ball right under her.”
Whitley’s cross was from right-to-left and Dunn kicked the ball toward the far post for the 1-0 lead.
“A 1-0 lead is never enough,” Dunn said. “You always want it to be 2-0 or 3-0.”
Dunn got her wish when she assisted on an insurance goal in the 72nd minute. Dunn passed the ball to sophomore midfielder Abby Faith on a cross from right to left and Faith tucked the ball into the near post.
“A three-goal lead is the goal that we always want to do but we were feeling confident with a 2-0 lead but we were never satisfied because we are always pushing to get more,” Dunn said. “A two-goal lead would be OK but a three-goal lead would be better and more is always better.”
The Patriots wouldn’t need any more offense as the defense and junior goalie Hayley Pascoal (nine saves) closed the door on any comeback attempt.
“I thought we just needed to win 50-50 balls which I thought they dominated us on that in the second half,” Jackson Memorial coach Drew Gibson said. “We also needed to move up and down the field more as a unit in the second half. We got too spread out and they killed us.”
The loss snapped Jackson Memorial’s four-game winning streak, according to Gibson, and senior goalie Sydney Lavan made seven saves.
Freehold Township senior midfielder Tara Surick suffered a left leg injury with 23 seconds left in the first half. She didn’t return to the game and went to the hospital after the game for x-rays. Surick said after the game that she “has a sprain and is in an air-cast and on crutches.” She also said if she can’t “put pressure on her leg by Sunday, she’ll have to see an orthopedic because it might be a torn ligament or tendon.”
The Patriots will travel to No. 3 seed Wall for a 3 p.m. SCT quarterfinal game on Monday.