UNION — The Colts Neck girls soccer team completed the most improbable season in the history of New Jersey girls soccer.
Shore Conference Class B North Division title. Check.
Shore Conference Tournament title. Check again.
NJSIAA Central Group III title. Check that off too.
Beat the No. 1 high school girls soccer team in the USA while winning your school’s first NJSIAA Group III state title and complete an undefeated season in the process. Well, that’s immortality.
Colts Neck junior forward Frankie Tagliaferri was fouled in the box and she was awarded a penalty kick. She got up, walked to the penalty kick line and when she settled herself, she fired to the left corner for probably the most important goal in school history as Colts Neck upset Northern Highlands, 1-0, in the battle of the undefeated teams. The goal came at 54:04 and it was Tagliaferri’s team-leading 28th goal of the season.
“When I take a penalty kick, I go either way (with my shots),” Tagliaferri said. “There isn’t one side that I go to (all the time).”
Earlier in the game, Tagliaferri had a breakaway and she just missed putting Colts Neck (24-0-1) up 1-0 and then came the penalty kick.
“I knew, especially against this team, none of us were going to get a lot of chances,” Tagliaferri said. “I missed the first chance that I got and I knew I had to finish the second one because there wasn’t going to be any more chances.”
From that point on it was up to sophomore goalie Lauren Feaster (14 saves), who played the best game of her career, and senior defender Amanda Visco, the team’s best defender, to hold Northern Highlands (22-1-1), a team that had scored 59 goals in the last two months, off the scoreboard.
And it wasn’t easy.
“We were missing a senior captain (Bridgette King). And the girl that was starting in place of her went out of the game with an injury. Now we are down two girls,” Colts Neck coach Doug Phillips said. “We have two reserve players in and we just held Northern Highlands to a 0-0 score at halftime, that’s all we talked about at halftime. (In the second half), maybe we’ll get a lucky break. Maybe we’ll get a breakaway or a set piece or something and we could put one on the board and then just defend.”
And it worked just like that.
First came Tagliaferri’s clinching goal.
Frankie puts us up 1-0 on this PK pic.twitter.com/wOHyAdYsO9— The Den (@TheCNCougarDen) November 21, 2015
Then the Cougars, led by Feaster and Visco, turned their defense up a notch. And finally, Colts Neck went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the Asbury Park Press and defeated the No. 1 team in the USA, according to the USA Today Sports/National Soccer Coaches Association of America Super 25 girls rankings.
Now, that’s immortality.
Sherlon Christie: firstname.lastname@example.org
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