Red Bank Catholic beats Central Regional to win girls soccer SCT title

Red Bank Catholic beats Central Regional to win girls soccer SCT title

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Red Bank Catholic beats Central Regional to win girls soccer SCT title

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NEPTUNE

Red Bank Catholic senior forward Grace Correll was just hoping for another chance.

She hit the crossbar and the post with shots earlier in the game, and with the clock ticking down in regulation, junior midfielder Kelly Jacoby gave Correll one more chance.

This time, Correll found an opening in the Central Regional defense and poked the ball into the lower right corner with 4:37 left in the second half. The No. 6 seed Caseys held on for a 1-0 victory over the No. 13 seed Golden Eagles in the Shore Conference Tournament final on Saturday night at Memorial Field.

“It felt amazing. I hit the crossbar and the post and I didn’t let myself get down. I believed in my teammates to get me the ball (again),” Correll said. “Kelly Jacoby made a great cross and I just happened to be there, settled it down, and placed the ball in the lower right corner.”

It was all the offense that Red Bank Catholic (18-2-1) would need with the way its defense and goalie Jackie Robinson (two saves) kept the ball out of the Caseys’ defensive end.

“Somebody was going to finish one off. Fortunately, Grace Correll, who is a great goal scorer but was kind of unlucky on a lot of plays today. I was really happy to see her put that together,” Red Bank Catholic coach Frank Lawrence said. “She’s one of the senior leaders of the team. Her and Liz Thoresen have been the two goal scorers for us all year long. Now I’m glad to see that at least one of them got to put the game-winning goal in.”

Central (16-2) gave its fans a great run as the Golden Eagles beat No. 20 seed Monsignor Donovan, No. 4 seed and defending champion Toms River North, No. 5 seed Holmdel and No. 1 seed Freehold to get to Saturday night’s SCT final. Central goalie Lindsey Mahnken (11 saves) did all she could to fend off the Red Bank Catholic offense, which produced 15 shots while Central’s offense had four shots.

“It was a battle to the end. Both teams fought really hard. You have to score to win,” Central coach Kristee Paknis said. “So, they scored and we didn’t this time. Honestly, I couldn’t be prouder of them. They played with their hearts and that’s all I can ask them to do.”

It was a scoreless game at halftime. Red Bank Catholic was the more aggressive team in the first half with a 9-2 advantage on shots while Central had a 2-1 advantage on corner kicks. But none of that led to any goals in the first half. Mahnken had eight saves and Robinson had one save at halftime.

This was Central’s first appearance in the SCT final while Red Bank Catholic has made nine SCT final appearances and now has a 6-3 record in the final.

The Caseys won three in a row from 2008-2010, defeating Freehold, Jackson Memorial and Wall by 1-0, 3-1 and 4-0 scores. Red Bank Catholic’s other titles came in 2001, a 3-0 victory over St. John Vianney, and 1999, a 4-1 triumph over Brick Memorial. The 1999 title was Red Bank Catholic’s first.

Both teams made the NJSIAA tournament this year.

Red Bank Catholic is the No. 4 seed in the Non-Public South A bracket and is scheduled to host No. 5 seed Pingry on Thursday at Count Basie Field in Red Bank. Central is the No. 5 seed in the South Group III bracket and will host No. 12 seed Oakcrest on Monday.

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