Borenstein leads resurgent Rebels to 2-0 victory over Toms River South


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There has been a lot of success on the pitch to start the 2022 season for the Howell High School girls soccer team.

The team’s only blemishes were consecutive losses to Middletown South High School and to Freehold Township High School heading into a match against Toms River South High School on Oct. 7 in Howell.

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Led by senior captain Riley Borenstein, the Rebels got back on the winning track against the Indians. In the first half, Borenstein scored a goal – her sixth of the season – and delivered her sixth assist to spark Howell (9-2-1) to a 2-0 victory.

“It feels really good,” Borenstein said. “There are still things we have to work on, but overall, this team dynamic is the best I have ever played with.”

Both goals came off corner kicks that were taken by sophomore Madelyn Roberto.

In the seventh minute, Roberto sent a corner kick into the 18-yard box. Borenstein played a header to Ashley Smith, who put the ball into the Indians’ net for a 1-0 lead. The goal was Smith’s fifth of the season.

In the 37th minute, Roberto sent another corner kick into the box. Borenstein outran two defenders to the ball and knocked it past the Indians’ goalkeeper from three yards out for a 2-0 lead three minutes from halftime.

Howell’s defenders and junior goalkeeper Madison Smith shut down the Indians’ attack in the second half to secure the team’s sixth shutout. Smith finished with four saves in the match.

“This (season) is one of the most fun years I have ever had and we are playing our best,” Borenstein said. “Everyone is supportive of each other and we are all rooting for each other and we are having a good time.”

Howell’s nine wins is one short of the 10 victories the 2014 team posted in its run to the state sectional tournament championship game.

Coming off a 5-14-1 season in 2021, second-year coach Miguel Arroyo said the success the Rebels have enjoyed thus far in 2022 has been unexpected.

“They have opened up a lot of eyes,” Arroyo said. “They have played really well and are gelling as a team. I am very proud of them.”

The players’ primary goal when the season began was to qualify for the Shore Conference Tournament. The Rebels have not played in the tournament since 2016.

The Rebels achieved that goal by earning the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament. Howell received a first round bye and will play Holmdel High School or St. Rose High School of Belmar in the second round on Oct. 13.

Arroyo called the Rebels a “resilient bunch” and believes the players have what it takes to make a run in the Shore Conference Tournament and in the state sectional tournament.

“These are a resilient bunch of girls we have this year. I have a talented group of forwards, midfielders and defenders. It is always someone different stepping up for us in each game,” the coach said.

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