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Rumson-Fair Haven Bulldogs win regional soccer crown

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The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer team celebrates winning the Central East B regional championship with a 3-2 victory over Wall on Nov. 22 in Wall. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player #27 Katie Aglione is greeted with a hug by teammate Paige West after scoring her first goal against Wall in the Central B East regional final on Nov. 22 in Wall. Rumson-Fair Haven defeated Wall 3-2 to win the regional championship.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player Katie Aglione shoots and scores her first goal of the team's regional final against Wall on Nov. 22 in Wall. Aglione scored the game-winning goal in double overtime to help Rumson-Fair Haven defeat Wall 3-2 and win the regional championship.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer team celebrates winning the Central East B regional championship with a 3-2 victory over Wall on Nov. 22 in Wall. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player #27 Katie Aglione is greeted with a hug by teammate Paige West after scoring her first goal against Wall in the Central B East regional final on Nov. 22 in Wall. Rumson-Fair Haven defeated Wall 3-2 to win the regional championship.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School girls soccer player Katie Aglione shoots and scores her first goal of the team's regional final against Wall on Nov. 22 in Wall. Aglione scored the game-winning goal in double overtime to help Rumson-Fair Haven defeat Wall 3-2 and win the regional championship.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

It was just one game into the 2020 season when the players on the Rumson-Fair Regional High School girls soccer team had to quarantine because the program had a possible connection to COVID-19.

The two-week quarantine had the Bulldogs wondering what the season would hold for them and if they would even have a chance to play.

Fast-forward to Nov. 22 when the Bulldogs squared off against Wall Township High School in the Central East B regional state tournament championship match at the Wall Township Municipal Complex.

With the teams tied 2-2 entering the second 10-minute overtime period, Rumson-Fair Haven turned a season of doubt into a championship campaign when junior Katie Aglione score a golden goal for the Bulldogs.

With three minutes gone in the second OT, Aglione saw a loose ball bounce her way and smacked a 25-yard shot into the Crimson Knights’ net to lift the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win and the regional title.

“This is honestly the best feeling in the world,” Aglione said minutes later. “Getting the ball in the back of the net is the best feeling in the world, especially in a championship game. Every day we work harder than the last day. We worked so hard for this. We did everything we possibly could and we deserve it.”

Aglione scored twice in the final and finished the season with a team-high 15 goals.

Senior Cortland McBarron scored in the 70th minute to tie the match. With the Bulldogs trailing 2-1, McBarron got her foot on a corner kick sent in by Lilly Frick and her shot found the net. It was McBarron’s second goal of the season.

Tears of joy ran down McBarron’s cheeks after the match as she celebrated her team’s championship victory and the senior could not have hoped for a better way to end her last match.

“We kept fighting all the way to the end and we didn’t give up,” she said. “That was a team effort. I’m just so happy. Great way to end the year.”

Junior goalkeeper Eva Kalmann made six saves in net for the Bulldogs against the Crimson Knights.

Senior Brynn Pritchard led the Bulldogs in assists with 12 and scored 13 goals to cap her scholastic career.

The Bulldogs finished the 2020 season with a 14-1 record and on a six-game winning streak.

“This is what we have worked for all season long,” Coach Megan Heerwagen Rizzitello said. “They just persevered and kept working and never gave up. Being able to make it here and have this end result, there’s nothing else that can compare to this feeling. We did it. We overcame 2020.”

The victory over Wall was the first state-wide championship for Rumson-Fair Haven since the Bulldogs won the NJSIAA Group 2 championship in 2013.

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