It was a cold evening on the campus of St. Augustine Prep as two Shore Conference teams met for the right to move on to the NJSIAA Group II finals Saturday at Kean University. On one side, the experience of a Holmdel team eager to punch their ticket to their second consecutive Group Finals. The other side, a young Point Pleasant Boro team that has faced much adversity all year round. For each team, the nearly two hour trip south was the next step to the overall prize after winning their respected brackets in thrilling fashion.
It took twenty-two minutes for a goal to be registered. It was the Holmdel attack that was able to take advantage of a defensive miscue that led to Hannah Lee netting the first goal of the evening. The Hornets would continue to play excellent defense much of which we expected coming into the game. After 40 minutes of action, Holmdel took a 1-0 lead into the half. Although a single goal proved to be the deciding factor, an injury to Point Boro Goalkeeper Amye Zalesky proved to be a key factor towards to end of the game.
After catching up with Hannah Lee she explained the preparation that her team took in order to take advantage of early opportunities after traveling a long distance. ” We were focused on coming out hard, thats our strong suit. We knew they were going to be quick and we had to match their plan and we did”, Lee said. She also credited her defense for keeping them in the game for its entirety. ” Eighty minutes is a long time for our defense and I am so proud of them. They did not let up even after some defensive miscommunication they fought hard.” This was a major factor in the game as the Holmdel defense did not allow a goal until the 70th minute.
For Point Boro, Devon Wondolowski was credited with the only goal for the Panthers. However, with only ten minutes remaining at that point; it would be to tall of a task for the Panthers to overcome as they would fall to Holmdel in a 2-1 decision. Gabby Bair was responsible for the second Holmdel goal as she was able to beat Riley Sexton in the 50th minute. This stated Holmdel to a 2-0 lead that they would not have to look back on.
The Group II final will be a rematch of last season. Holmdel and Ramapo will meet on Saturday afternoon at 12:30 PM.