Brick Memorial’s Madison Farley sent the 19th-seeded Mustangs through to the next round of the Shore Conference Tournament after netting an overtime game-winner in the 83rd minute of a 4-3 victory over 14th-seeded Ocean on Wednesday.
The Mustangs’ Olivia Nazzaro controlled a throw in deep into Spartans territory and was able to slip the ball past the keeper, leading to Farley’s game-winner just in front of the goal line.
Things looked promising for Brick Memorial head coach Billy Caruso and his squad, who held a 3-2 advantage late in the second half of the game.
However, Gabby Hagerman tied the game for the Spartans with just two minutes left in regulation. Hagerman collected a ball just in front of midfield and streaked past several players, tucking the ball away to the far post for the equalizer.
With all the momentum seemingly on Ocean’s side, Caruso stuck to the game plan and waited for his girls to make a big play.
“After Ocean tied the game, I was just hoping that we would be able to somehow get the game into overtime,” Caruso said.
Not every coach would hope for a game resulting in overtime, but Caruso knew his girls would not be shaken by the big stage.
“This was the third game in overtime that we have won this year, so that’s exactly what I told them,” Caruso said. “They always work really hard, and they deserved this result they got today.”
This preliminary round of the SCT was exciting from the start of the whistle until the final goal was scored, proving once again why this tournament continues to be special year in and year out.
“It was an exciting game, you couldn’t ask for anything more then that,” Caruso said. “Both teams played great, its nice for the girls to have a happy moment, they really deserve it.”
Ocean jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first half. Jenna Loeser started the scoring for the Spartans in the seventh minute, and Talia Pritzlaff followed suit in the 13th minute for the Spartans.
It appeared things were getting out of hand early for the Mustangs, but Caruso didn’t panic and stayed with the game plan tactically.
“I thought we were in big trouble then, but the kids were able to fix it on the field,” Caruso said. “They outworked us in the first 10 minutes of the game, I’m sure it was a fun game to watch, if you weren’t sitting on the bench trying to coach.”
Brick Memorial stormed back after Jenna Wallace scored in the 16th minute. It took only seven minutes more for the Mustangs to equalize after Julia Kirkpatrick hit a screamer from about 35 yards out and tied the game at 2-2.
The Mustangs took the lead in the second half off an indirect kick in the box. Olivia Nazzaro chipped the ball across the box and Joriam Rivera finished it off a header to the far post.
Hagerman tied the game late for the Spartans and set the stage for Farleys dramatics early in the first overtime period.
The 19th-seeded Mustangs will look for another upset as they head to third-seeded Freehold Township on Friday.
According to Caruso this is only the third game that they were able to throw out their original starting lineup due to injuries. He hopes the team can build on this win and gain more team chemistry heading into the Freehold Township game.