It did not come easy for either team in the opening round of the Shore Conference Tournament. On Thursday, the 14th seeded Panthers of Point Pleasant Borough hosted the 17th seeded Cougars of Colts Neck. Each team fought hard for the entirety of the game hoping their efforts would propel them into the quarter finals. For both teams, this meant a match-up with defending Champion; Freehold Township.
This turned out to be quite the defensive battle. In the early stages of the game, Point Boro showed us a glimpse of why they were so tough to beat during the regular season. They pass well, they dribble well, they communicate well; all the elements of a great soccer team. However, the Panthers have not faced a team quite like Colts Neck this season.
Point Boro had many opportunities to grab the early lead. On many occasions, Point Boro was able to stack the box and force Noah Baker to constantly stay on his feet throughout the eighty minutes of regulation. As the game went on, the Colts Neck defense was able to stay tough and limit the Panthers to very few shots on Net.
For Colts Neck, Rob Berdel may have been able to end the game within regulation. In the second half of the Game, he hit a bullet towards the top of the net. If it were not for Point Boro Goalkeeper Tyler Haines, that ball would have majestically glided into the back of the net. Instead, Haines was able to tip it up against the cross bar and the game remained scoreless.
For the Panthers, their major scoring chance came off the foot of Sam Monanco. Monaco, who has been brilliant for Pt. Boro this season was able to drive a ball towards the net that sailed slightly high. This was off a free kick during the second half of the game. This would be one of the last major scoring chances either team would have in the remaining part of regulation.
After One hundred minutes of Soccer, the game came down to penalty kicks. In the end, the game would be decided in favor of Colts Neck. Colts Neck was able to convert on the first three penalty kicks which made it tough for the Panthers to convert enough penalty chances. The final count on Penalty Kicks had the Cougars winning 3-2. Here is the game winning save that preserved the victory for the Cougars.
Here are the kicks that preceded the final save.
First Colts Neck PK
Robet Berdel PK
Rafat Mowla PK
Point Boro PK attempts
Mason Remondelli connects for the Panthers in PKs
One of two stops by Haines was a beauty to keep Pt. Boro alive in PKs.
I was later able to catch up with Zach Shaffer, one of the outside backs for the Cougars who was very exited after his teams victory. “It was a great win for the team, everyone played their hearts out until the last whistle. Now our focus is on the next match vs Freehold township.”, Shaffer said. In addition, he commented on his teams mentality throughout the game, saying, “everyone stayed positive and in the end we pulled out a hard fought win”.
It will certainly be a challenge for the Cougars as they head into Freehold, however, they know that challenges can be overcome. I was able to talk with Head coach Art Collier on today’s clutch victory for his team.
I was able to also hear from Christian Saavedra, who scored the first PK. “I am happy for my team, the defense was great and did not commit any fouls at the end of the game”. This was a big win for Colts neck as they aim for the ultimate prize.