The date of Sept. 28 may be long remembered as the Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School girls’ soccer team advances through this season.
It was on that day that RBC came through to rally for a 2-1 victory in overtime against Middletown High School North in Red Bank.
The game was settled two minutes into overtime when junior forward Sofia Giamanco connected to end the thrilling contest.
“It felt awesome,” Giamanco said. “It was really big for us. We lost to them last time, and we were really motivated to beat them this time.”
The Caseys were down, 1-0, for most of the game until junior Danielle Borrino scored on a penalty kick with 9:10 left in the second half.
The winning goal in this showdown between two of the top teams in the Shore Conference B North Division came when Giamanco scored off a corner kick.
The victory avenged RBC’s 4-3 loss to Middletown North on Sept. 7.
“When we went into halftime, we talked about calming down,” Giamanco said. “We were hyped all game. So at halftime, we just wanted to calm down a little bit. When we did that, we came together, and when we play together, we play our best.”
Coach Frank Lawrence of RBC thought the elements were in the Caseys’ favor in the second half in a game that was played during a windy evening.
“We gave up not a great goal early,” Lawrence said. “We were playing fine. We were into the wind in the first half. We decided we would play that way, and we would play a pretty defensive game — get through it and go into halftime either even or down a goal. We felt that once we had the wind behind us, we would be OK.
“We just started to build momentum. And we’re a team that when we start playing well, we play well throughout. And we build, and we build and we build, and finally, we broke through and got a goal. In the overtime, I decided that we were going to keep going in the same direction because we had the momentum, and I didn’t want to mess that up. It worked out.”
Lawrence felt this victory will spark his team as the season progresses. The victory moved the Caseys to 6-3 on the year.
“This was a really important game for us,” Lawrence said. “They’re a division rival who is one notch ahead of us in the division right now. So this puts us back in a better position. I thought that if we could win this game, we could be in really good shape to make a good run.”
The coach believes the young Caseys are coming together.
“Our defense is kinda young,” Lawrence said. “Our goalie is very young. They’ve now started to play together. We’re halfway through the season. When you’re a young player and you don’t have a ton of experience but by halfway through the season you’ve played a lot of soccer, you’re no longer a rookie. You got to step up, and they did that tonight.”
The Caseys beat Long Branch High school, 4-1, on Sept. 30.
The Caseys were scheduled to meet Saint Rose High School in Belmar on Oct. 2 and host Middletown High School South on Oct. 4. They visit Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls on Oct. 6 at 3:45 p.m.
Middletown North coach Patricia Misciagna and junior forward Lindsay O’Keefe both thought the team put together a strong game plan for RBC.
“We had some good opportunities,” Misciagna said. “We looked to posses it and keep going forward. RBC just kept coming at us, and they never gave up. We just didn’t finish anymore after that early goal.”
It was O’Keefe who scored to give Middletown North a 1-0 lead with a goal early in the game.
“We knew they were going to be a really good team,” O’Keefe added. “We went out there trying to score early. We were able to get one. We really pressed as a team and were able to do that. But then we lost it a little bit and weren’t able to finish in the end.”
Misciagna and O’Keefe believe the Lions must finish their opportunities.
“[We just need to make sure] we finish games like that when we have the majority of possession and shots on goal,” Misciagna said. “We have to try to get that second goal earlier and finish that way, and also just keep coming back if we do give up a goal. We have to keep coming back and keep trying.”
“We can’t take the chances we get for granted,” O’Keefe said. “We have to not let up ever.”
The defeat left the Lions with a 7-3 record.
“We want to finish the division strong,” Misciagna said. “We’re coming back through the second cycle playing each team in the division. We’ll take it one game at a time and finish the season strong.”
The Lions lost on Sept. 30 to Saint John Vianney High School, 2-1.
Middletown North was scheduled to visit Wall High School on Oct. 2 before returning home to host Long Branch High School on Oct. 4. The Lions remain at home against Ocean Township High School on Oct. 5 for a game at 3:45 p.m.