Freehold senior goalie Sara Cobb has been starter for the Colonials since her freshman year and she was also the reigning Asbury Park Press All-Shore first team goalie coming into this season.
Cobb didn’t let high team expectations or one of the toughest schedules in the Shore Conference knock her off her game this season. She was a vital member of the Freehold defense and had several key moments this season in which she earned girls soccer player of the year honors from the Asbury Park Press.
“The beginning of the year went really well and more of those shutouts were due to the defense as a whole,” Cobb said. “But later in the season especially in the postseason tournaments, I got tested and got more opportunities to make saves. The defense and I communicated really well this season.”
The Colonials went 17-2 this season and started the year with 11 straight shutouts before Wall senior forward Casey Zalewski scored in the 55th minute to stop that streak. More importantly, the Colonials defeated Wall, 2-1, in that Oct. 10 game and took a 16-0 winning streak into the Shore Conference Tournament final.
“The biggest change I have seen since meeting Sara was her ability to communicate with and lead her teammates. As a sophomore, she was timid at times with her teammates and the coaching staff. As a junior, she earned her role as a captain through her leadership in the summer and the preseason,” said Jody Smith, Freehold’s girls soccer co-coach. “As a senior, she has been a true program leader. Every girl in the program, from her classmates down to the freshmen team, has a role model to look up to and a model for what a student-athlete should be.”
Cobb literally saved Freehold’s chance to advance to the SCT final in one of her biggest moments of the year in a showdown with Red Bank Catholic in the SCT semifinals. After 100 minutes of scoreless soccer, Cobb saved three of the four penalty kicks she faced as the Colonials edged Red Bank Catholic, 3-1, on penalty kicks.
“I knew the Red Bank Catholic game had a chance to be scoreless and I also knew I had to remain calm in the penalty kick round,” Cobb said. “It was definitely one of the best games of the season because Red Bank Catholic really tested us defensively in the game.”
“There were many moments or games where I was thankful that she was wearing our uniform and not someone else’s. The SCT semifinal against Red Bank Catholic stands out the most for me,” said Elyse Ingui, Freehold’s co-coach. “She played out of her mind. Making big save after big save in regulation and then again in overtime. If it wasn’t for Sara we would have lost that game especially with her huge saves in the penalty kick out where she made 3 saves winning the game for us.”
For the season, Cobb had 15 shutouts, allowed only six goals, went 3-0 in overtime and 2-0 in penalty kicks and helped the Colonials be a dominant team this season. For her career, Cobb finished with 47 shutouts in 78 games and went 10-1-4 in overtime and 5-1 in penalty kicks. She hasn’t decided her college plans as of press time for this story.
“Sara was the captain who led by example and she left a lasting impression on the underclassmen. She always did what was expected and never questioned any coach as to why. She was always willing to fulfill any request or task the coaches asked of her and she always did it in a timely organized manner,” Ingui said. “Sara lead this team to heights we never expected to reach her junior year and her senior year she did all she could on and off the field to get us where we wanted to go. Sara’s ability to keep her cool under pressure and remain so positive all the time was a personality trait that our team needed and helped us through big situations.”