COLTS NECK- Colts Neck girls soccer head coach Doug Phillips might not have been happy with his team’s overall performance in regulation against Wall in an NJSIAA Central Group III semifinal on Monday afternoon.
What he couldn’t question was his team’s heart.
After falling behind 1-0 to the No. 5 seed Crimson Knights in the second half, the No. 1 seed Cougars got the equalizing goal in the last four minutes of regulation, and eventually walked off with a 2-1 double overtime victory.
The win sends Colts Neck to the NJSIAA Central Group III final, against fellow Shore Conference team Toms River East on Thursday.
Wall struck first, after a Katie Hyde cross found the head of Amy Paternoster for the opening goal of the game in the second half.
It was the first time Colts Neck had trailed in a game all season.
Phillips switched his formation to a 3-4-3, and after several chances in the last 10 minutes of the game, the Cougars were able to get the equalizing goal courtesy of the head of Amanda Visco.
Visco finished a cross from Frankie Tagliaferri to send the game into overtime.
From there the teams traded dangerous chances, but in the end it was Allison Russo who finished a cross from Bridgette King for the game-winning goal in the 96th minute.
It was a good bit of combination play from Tagliaferri, King, and Russo to set up the goal that sent the Cougars to the sectional final.
“We knew we didn’t want it to get to PK’s, it’s just not a good way to determine a game,” King said. “I dribbled to the corner, just tried to give a 110 percent, and I got the cross off and Alli was there.”
This win should only help the Cougars moving forward, as they try to capture another sectional title, and hopefully get another shot at the overall Group III title this season.
“They (Wall) took it to us,” Phillips said. “We knew even if we went down we would have to try and find a way to get back in it and they did, it’s all about just playing with a lot of heart, and I think these two teams have matched each other with intensity for almost 100 minutes.”
It was the fourth time this season that Wall and Colts Neck met, with each meeting between the two teams, bringing out the best in the other.
“Every time we play them it just seems to wake us up, this game made us realize that we need to play physical and be composed at the same time,” King said. “We are a good team when we are relaxed, they brought some pressure on us, but we were able to come together and play as a team.”
Despite the loss, it was a valiant effort from Wall head coach Mike Juska and his team.
Wall’s Nora Burdge shadowed U-17 National team call up Frankie Tagliaferri for most of the game, limiting her amount of dangerous touches.
“It just hurts that we couldn’t get anything for the seniors today,” Juska said. “They really deserved it, and they are just a great group of girls, it’s just a shame we couldn’t do something for them today.”
The Crimson Knights did prove they could hang with the best of the Shore Conference on Monday, and the good news for Wall moving forward is that they will have several players back at it next season.
Wall has a total of six juniors and 11 sophomores returning next season, and Juska looks forward to seeing what Paternoster and company can achieve next fall.
“Amy (Paternoster) has become a big time player for us, towards the second half of this season she really picked it up,” Juska said. “I think we are going to be one of the better teams in the Shore the next couple of years, we have a bright future ahead.”
Staff Writer: Chris Parker email@example.com