Patriots continue offensive surge with 4-0 victory over Howell

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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Cassidy Corcione retrieves the ball outside the box during a game against Howell on Sept. 29 in Freehold. Corcione scored a game-high two goals to help Freehold Township defeat Howell 4-0. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Kayla Wong steals the ball from Howell's Ashley Smith during a game played on Sept. 29 in Freehold. Freehold Township won 4-0.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Ainsley Moy dribbles the ball past Howell's Leila Oshiro during a game played on Sept. 29 in Freehold. Moy scored a goal in the contest.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Gabby Koluch surveys the field during a game against Howell on Sept. 29 in Freehold. Koluch had two assists in the contest. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Cassidy Corcione retrieves the ball outside the box during a game against Howell on Sept. 29 in Freehold. Corcione scored a game-high two goals to help Freehold Township defeat Howell 4-0. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Kayla Wong steals the ball from Howell's Ashley Smith during a game played on Sept. 29 in Freehold. Freehold Township won 4-0.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Ainsley Moy dribbles the ball past Howell's Leila Oshiro during a game played on Sept. 29 in Freehold. Moy scored a goal in the contest.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Freehold Township High School girls soccer player Gabby Koluch surveys the field during a game against Howell on Sept. 29 in Freehold. Koluch had two assists in the contest. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

Freehold Township High School girls soccer coach Dave Patterson knows he has a talented group of players competing for the Patriots in 2021 and that those players can put the ball in the back of the net.

That fact has been showcased with authority as the Patriots have rolled to a 7-0-1 start. In eight matches, the Patriots have scored 43 goals. Five players have scored five or more goals.

“The versatility of our team is what makes us really dangerous,” Patterson said. “We have talent all over the field. If you try to take away one person by marking them, someone else is going to find space.”

In the third match of 2021, Freehold Township and Red Bank Catholic played to a 1-1 tie.

On Sept. 29 at home, the Patriots scored four or more goals for the seventh time this season when they defeated Shore Conference A North Division rival Howell, 4-0.

In the 27th minute, junior Ainsley Moy received a pass off a corner kick from Gabby Koluch and hit a ball that swerved and got past several defenders and the Rebels’ goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead. It was Moy’s fifth goal of the season.

At halftime, Patterson spoke to his players about playing at the high level of which they are capable.

“We have to make sure we are playing to our level of play at all times because on any day someone can knock us off,” he said. “In the second half, we did a much better job of pressing (Howell) and working as a team. When we start to play at that pace and everyone gets involved, it makes it much easier for us to find feet and move the ball up the field.”

The Patriots heard their coach’s message and came out for the second half ready to push the pace and to put more shots on net.

After putting five shots on net in the first 10 minutes of the second half, Freehold Township extended its lead in the 53rd minute with an aggressive play by sophomore Cassidy Corcione.

Corcione dribbled through two defenders in the box and was knocked down at the end of the play, leading the referee to whistle a foul on the Rebels. Corcione drilled the resulting penalty kick into the net for her eighth goal and a 2-0 lead.

Corcione struck again in the 69th minute as the recipient of outstanding passing from Koluch and senior Lexi Konstantinidis. Koluch dished a perfect pass to Corcione at the top of the box and the sophomore slammed home her second goal for a 3-0 lead.

“When we are on the field, our technical connection is just amazing,” Corcione said. “We just find each other with quick passes to get around defenders.”

The two assists by Koluch give the junior four assists through eight matches. Corcione had nine assists through eight matches.

As a freshman in 2020, Corcione scored 11 goals and added eight assists to help the Patriots win the NJSIAA Central East Group E championship in a season that saw New Jersey’s high school athletes deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2021, Corcione has her sights set on doing what she can to help Freehold Township win a Shore Conference title and a state crown.

“If we keep putting in the work, I think we can definitely do it,” Corcione said about Freehold Township’s chances of winning a state championship.

Freshman Gaby Parker scored her ninth goal of the season in the 71st minute to cap the 4-0 victory over Howell.

Junior Kayla Wong scored six goals through eight matches, while Moy and sophomore Hailey Santiago each recorded five goals and six assists in eight games played.

Freshman goalkeeper Ashley Moore made five saves in the victory over the Rebels.

The win over Howell was special for Patterson and his players as the program honored Konstantinidis, Carly Shein and Kelsey Gilroy after the match with Senior Night festivities.

Patterson said the players have “lofty goals” they want to achieve this season, but the coach said the goal for the team going into the Howell game was to honor their senior teammates the right way by getting them a victory.

“We always want to make sure we give (seniors) that day they deserve,” Patterson said. “We were able to do that for them. It means a lot to me as a coach and the rest of the team. The girls played their hearts out for the seniors.”

Freehold Township is scheduled to host Allentown on Oct. 2 and then travel to play Marlboro on Oct. 5.