The Shore Regional High School girls’ soccer team continued to roll through the NJSIAA tournament. After wrapping up the Central Jersey Group I title, the Blue Devils booked a ticket to the Group I championship game for the fourth straight year.
The Blue Devils had to overcome a first-half deficit against Haddon Heights High School to reach the Group I final. Shore Regional put 13 shots on goal compared to just four for Haddon Heights before halftime, yet the Blue Devils found themselves down, 1-0, at the break.
Shore Regional wrote a different story in the second half, capitalizing on scoring opportunities to squeak through the group semifinals, 2-1.
With their season on the line, the Blue Devils made every shot count as they climbed ahead of Haddon Heights. Shore Regional posted another 13 shots in the final half, two of which were misdirected by the crossbar. Freshman Frankie McDonough was the one who evened the score. Off a pass from Sophie Hauritz, McDonough delivered a shot just inside the post. The Blue Devils need a mere three minutes to pull in front. Freshman Hannah Birdsall sent a cross that Hauritz delivered into the net, sending the team back to the finals.
Shore Regional also benefited from another stellar defensive effort wire-to-wire. The Blue Devils limited Haddon Heights to zero shots in the entire second half. In their last six games, including a 4-0 shutout over Metuchen High School for the Central Jersey Group I title, the Blue Devils have allowed only four goals.
“In any sport, as a coach, you have to have a system and believe in it. For us, it’s total soccer. When we have the ball, we all play offense. When we’re on defense, we all play defense,” head coach George Moutis said after the sectional victory.
The comeback against Haddon Heights sent the Blue Devils (20- 4-1) to Kean University Nov. 21 for the Group I championship game, and Shore faced a familiar foe: Glen Ridge High School.