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Shore Regional rallies to win girls’ soccer state title

The Shore Regional High School girls’ soccer team pulled off the hat trick in dramatic fashion when it won its third straight NJSIAA Group 1 tournament championship.

Also for the third straight year, Glen Ridge High School fell victim to Shore Regional in the title game.

In this season’s championship game on Nov. 18, Shore Regional erased a two-goal deficit and pulled off a 5-4 victory at Kean University in Union.

Shore Regional trailed, 4-2, with a little more than 24 minutes left to go in the second half, but the Blue Devils scored three unanswered goals, including the winner by sophomore Julia Eichenbaum with only nine seconds remaining in the game.

Eichenbaum ended with two goals, netting the tying and game-winning goals, which came in the final five minutes of the game. She also recorded an assist.

Hannah Birdsall connected for two goals, and Frankie McDonough also scored a goal to contribute to Shore Regional’s victory. Shore Regional goalkeeper Julia Valinoti made three saves.

Shore Regional defeated Glen Ridge, 3-1, in the 2016 state finals and beat the Essex County team by a 2-1 score in the 2015 title game.

The Blue Devils reached the state finals this year after defeating Pitman High School, 8-1, in the semifinals on Nov. 14.

This also marked the second consecutive year that Shore Regional won the sectional title as the No. 4 seed. Shore Regional knocked off the top seed, Metuchen High School, 2-0, in the Central Jersey, Group 1 semifinals before it eliminated third-seeded Palmyra High School, 3-0, in the finals.

Shore Regional will lose six seniors to graduation, but the Blue Devils return such standouts as Eichenbaum, Birdsall and this year’s leading scorer, McDonough.

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