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Undefeated Patriots continue to improve on girls’ soccer field

The Freehold Township High School girls’ soccer team remains focused on improving even after a 9-0 start to the season.

And that mindset came just after the Patriots cruised to a 5-0 victory over Howell High School on Sept. 28 in Freehold Township.

Freehold Township head coach Dave Patterson liked his team’s effort in the second half against Howell.

“I really loved how the girls put together the passes,” Patterson said. “In the first half, the energy wasn’t really great, but the way they came out in the second half, they were much more into it and had a lot more energy. I like that. Everyone got involved, and everyone was apart of it out there.”

Patterson wants his team to be more consistent going forward.

“[We just want to] be more consistent — not just with our play, but also with our sense of urgency,” the coach said. “So just being more consistent overall, I would say, is what we need to focus on.”

Patterson believes his team could be in for a nice postseason run.

“We’re just hoping to continue to get better,” Patterson said. “As we get closer to the end of the regular season, we want to be in a good spot to win the [Shore Conference Class A North Division], hopefully, and get ourselves good seeds in the Shore Conference Tournament and the state tournament.”

Junior center back Amanda Meinster liked the ball control that the Patriots were able to display against the visiting Rebels.

“I liked the way we were able to control the ball,” Meinster said. “We were able to move it throughout the middle and send it wide.”

Now that the Patriots have mastered controlling the ball, Meinster wants them to learn how to control the field.

“We need to utilize the width more,” she said.

Meinster has high hopes for the rest of the season.

“We hope to continue our win streak,” she said. “We want to move on and compete for titles.”

Freehold Township looked to keep that winning streak alive when it hosted Colts Neck High School on Oct. 2. It travels to Neptune High School for a game at 3:45 p.m. on Oct. 4 before returning home to face Bridgewater-Raritan High School on Oct. 6 at 4 p.m.

Howell

The Rebels came out of the game against Freehold Township happy with the way they competed, and they saw a positive change in the team.

“We definitely saw an improvement from the last time we faced this team,” junior center midfielder Jessica O’Brien said in reference to a loss in the Rebels’ second game of the season to Freehold Township, 7-1, on Sept. 7. “I know the score might not reflect it, but we definitely were better with our communication and stepping to the ball and having that aggression that we didn’t have the first time. We didn’t get pushed off the ball like we did the first time. And we definitely saw each other’s feet more. We can still improve on that more. But we definitely played with each other’s strengths and weaknesses better than the first time.”

“We saw them come together,” Howell assistant coach Stavros Hondros said. “That’s what we teach them here. Some of our priorities aren’t always what the results say. There’s a lot of things that a score doesn’t dictate. Those are things that we want to build on. Even though we didn’t get the score that we wanted, it was still a good day for us.”

The team knows it still has things to work on.

“We have a lot to improve on now in this rebuilding phase,” O’Brien said. “This season has been rough, but we are hoping to improve on finding each other’s feet more, communication, and help defense and playing off each other.”

“There’s always things that you want to work on,” Hondros said. “We always look for growth. There’s always ways to get better. As a whole, and as a program, we just want to be more of a team and focus on our core values.”

The loss dropped the Rebels to 1-7-1 on the season. But Howell remains upbeat.

“We hope to win more games,” O’Brien said. “In the first half, we definitely competed with [Freehold] Township, I thought. So against other teams, I think we can compete and win more games as a whole as a program.”

“Our expectations are always to give the very best we have,” Hondros said. “That’s something that we teach here.”

Howell was scheduled to be the host to Manalapan High School on Oct. 2. It meets Marlboro High School on Oct. 4 at 4 p.m. in Marlboro.

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