St. Rose girls soccer coach Mike Parshelunis couldn’t heap enough praise on sophomore goalie Jordan Nash and her outstanding performance on Wednesday afternoon.
Nash made 17 saves and preserved an early two-goal lead as the No. 16 seed Purple Roses defeated visiting No. 17 seed Central, 2-0, in a Shore Conference Tournament preliminary round game.
“She keeps us in every single game and she’s terrific with her feet,” said Parshelunis while describing how valuable Nash has been to the team this season. “She’s a rock.”
Nash showed her flashy footwork during an intense moment in early in the second half.
Central (12-2-1) found a hole in the St. Rose (9-3-2) defense and had a golden opportunity for a goal but the shot clanged off the left post and dribbled horizontally across to the right side of the net. After Nash barely missed the save on the post shot, she hustled across the goal-line to make a diving save on the Central rebound attempt.
“In the second half, they were hungry to get a goal but our defense kept it up,” Nash said. “We were able to stop them and they didn’t score on us. That was a good job by our defense. On that shot, it was good luck, I guess.”
The Golden Eagles outshot St. Rose, 17-14, and both teams have misfortune of hitting the post or the crossbar on great scoring opportunities.
“At halftime, I told them to earn the respect that they deserve. You are a great team and you didn’t play like it in the first half. So, pick it up for the second half and they did,” Central coach Kristee Paknis said. “We had more than a couple unlucky opportunities there but they have their heads held high.”
The Purple Roses got two goals in the first half.
First, senior Emily DiMartini finished off a play about 10 yards out with a great redirection of a cross.
“I knew that Kathleen Daily was going to cross it and the ball skimmed off someone’s head and I kicked it in,” DiMartini said. “I just wanted to be on the far post in case anything came through so I could hit it in. I was just in the right spot at the right time.”
That goal came at 13:05 and it would be the only goal the Purple Roses would need. They got an insurance goal at 17:48 when Maggie McNiff crossed the ball to Amy White and White kicked it to the right side from about six yards out.
The Purple Roses will play at top-seeded Freehold Friday.