Corcione’s OT winner lifts Freehold Township over Middletown South

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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Gabby Koluch controls the ball in front of Middletown South's Keira Prince during a game played on Nov. 7 in Middletown. Freehold Township defeated Middletown South 2-1 in overtime.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Ryann Leohner battles Middletown South's Angie Shekian for control of the loose ball up the sideline during a game played on Nov. 7 in Middletown. Freehold Township is 8-1 through its first nine games of the season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Ainsley Moy knocks down the ball during the team's game against Middletown South on Nov. 7 in Middletown. Moy scored a goal in the team's 2-1 victory over Middletown South.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Gabby Zuczek prepares to kick the ball up the field during the team's game against Middletown South on Nov. 7 in Middletown.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Gabby Koluch controls the ball in front of Middletown South's Keira Prince during a game played on Nov. 7 in Middletown. Freehold Township defeated Middletown South 2-1 in overtime.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Ryann Leohner battles Middletown South's Angie Shekian for control of the loose ball up the sideline during a game played on Nov. 7 in Middletown. Freehold Township is 8-1 through its first nine games of the season.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Ainsley Moy knocks down the ball during the team's game against Middletown South on Nov. 7 in Middletown. Moy scored a goal in the team's 2-1 victory over Middletown South.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Gabby Zuczek prepares to kick the ball up the field during the team's game against Middletown South on Nov. 7 in Middletown.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

The Freehold Township High School girls soccer team has been tough to stop during the 2020 season.

The Patriots have only been defeated once; on Oct. 27 when they saw a two-goal lead vanish in a 3-2 overtime loss to Middletown South High School.

The Patriots had a chance to avenge that loss on Nov. 7 when they played the Eagles in Middletown.

Once again, overtime was needed to decide the match and the Patriots notched their eighth victory of the season with help from freshman Cassidy Corcione.

Corcione received the ball from Alexa Yakow 20 yards from goal and fired a shot that found the top right corner of the net with :22 left in overtime to send Freehold Township to a 2-1 victory.

“It felt good right off my foot and I knew it was something good,” Corcione said of her game-winning goal. “It feels really good. We came together as a team and played our best to get a good result.”

The game-winner was Corcione’s seventh goal of the season and her first game-winner in high school. She collected her fifth assist early in the first half when she dished off a great pass to freshman Ainsley Moy that Moy sent home for a 1-0 lead.

As of Nov. 9, Moy was second on the team with goals. Senior Ryann Leohner and Corcione are tied with a team-high seven goals.

“Cassidy crossed it back to me in the middle and I saw an open shot, so I just hit it and it went in,” Moy said of her goal. “It was really exciting. Our team is doing a good job. Even though we lost to (Middletown South earlier in the season), we came out ready to win and did a really good job.”

Freehold Township held the lead until the final moments of the second half, when Meghan Carragher scored her fourth goal of the season for the Eagles with 7:20 left.

Both squads missed scoring chances in the final moments of regulation, signaling another overtime period between the two Shore Conference A North Division foes.

As the 10-minute overtime period entered the final four minutes without anyone having scored a golden goal, the Eagles made a run. But Freehold Township senior goalkeeper Ava Madoff made sure Middletown South came up empty and that the Patriots did not let this match slip away as they did in the teams’ first match.

Madoff dove to her left to knock down Makayla Jaffe’s shot and then was able to jump on the loose ball to keep the game tied.

“Before overtime, I told my coach I was just going to throw myself at the ball and hope for the best and that’s exactly what happened,” Madoff said of the save. “It was really nice at the end with us winning because it felt like it was for a purpose and it felt really good.”

Madoff finished the match with three saves. Her overtime save shifted momentum and Corcione struck a few minutes later as Freehold Township gained a measure of redemption over the Eagles and improved to 8-1.

Battling back to defeat a nine-win team made it an important victory in the eyes of Freehold Township Coach Dave Patterson.

“It was really important for us to see we could come back in those situations,” he said. “We fought hard and believed. We made a great stop on one end and then we turned it into a great shot on goal by Cassidy to finish it.”

The Patriots will try to clinch the A North crown during the final week of the regular season. Freehold Township will face Howell on Nov. 9 and play Marlboro twice to complete the regular season.

Freehold Township has received the No. 3 seed in the 2020 Central East Regional Group 4 bracket of the state tournament and will host Elizabeth High School on Nov. 18.

In 2019, the Patriots reached the Central Jersey, Group 4 championship match, where they fell to Hunterdon Central Regional High School of Flemington, 2-1.

Patterson believes his players have the talent to make a run at a championship in the state tournament and knows they understand the high expectations the team has going into the final stretch of the season.

“Because our program has had such talented players over the years, we come into every season trying to challenge for championships.

“We are just trying to give ourselves chances to keep playing and getting better and hope it turns into results.

“Hopefully we can earn the first championship we are looking for in the division and move into the states feeling good about how we are playing,” Patterson said.