There is something in November that brings out the best in the Freehold Township High School field hockey team: the state playoffs.
For the second consecutive year and fourth in the last five, the Patriots captured the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV championship.
This year, they did it the hard way on the road as a lower seed.
As the No. 4 seed in their section, the Patriots had to play at top-seeded Rancocas Valley Regional High School in the semifinals.
Marie Pietracatella and Renata Baute scored first-half goals, and Freehold Township held on from there to beat Rancocas Valley, 2-0.
The sectional finals were played at No. 3-seed Jackson Memorial High School. The game went into overtime and was won on Jessica Pietracatella’s goal in the extra session, 2-1.
Freehold Township needed a goal by Jessica Applegate in the final eight minutes to tie the game at 1-1 and force the overtime.
For Jessica Pietracatella, it was the second state sectional game-winning goal of her career.
She scored the only goal of the game in 2014 when the Patriots beat Cherokee High School, 1-0, for the Central Jersey Group IV crown.
Freehold Township had gained momentum heading into the Central Jersey Group IV tournament, reaching the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals by knocking off previously undefeated Southern Regional High School, 1-0, on Applegate’s goal.
The Patriots finished the season with a 14-6-1 overall record, saving their best for the tournaments.
It was another championship season for Freehold High School, which held onto its A North Division crown.
Freehold marched through the regular season unbeaten.
The Colonials’ season came to a heartbreaking conclusion in the North Jersey II Group III finals at home. They fell to Summit High School in a shootout, ending the season at 13-2-2.
The positions of both the Patriots and the Colonials as two of the best programs in the state are the reason they dominate the News Transcript’s 2015 All-Freehold Regional High School District Field Hockey Team.
The forwards are Jessica Pianko, Tori Tiefenthaler and Clare Luttrell of Freehold; Jessica Pietracatella, Sara O’Malley, Madison Hoskins and Raegan Dunn of Freehold Township; and Kristi Schandall of Colts Neck High School.
The defenders are Marie Pietracatella and Kellie Hennessy of Freehold Township, Katelyn Pianko of Freehold and Julia Earley of Howell.
The goalies are Freehold’s Belly Reynoso and Colts Neck’s Gianna Mannino.
The Shore Conference coaches picked Marie Pietracatella as the A North Player of the Year.