FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The ending to the 2021 season was heartbreaking for the Freehold Township High School girls soccer team, as the Patriors lost to Westfield High School in the final seconds of the NJSIAA Group IV state championship game.
That loss to the Blue Devils had not left the minds of Coach Dave Patterson and his players as they entered the 2022 season. The taste of defeat is fueling the Patriots to earn ultimate redemption this season.
This year’s squad has been dominant in compiling a 10-1 record and winning its third straight Shore Conference A North Division title.
“We have said since the beginning that this season is all about redemption,” said Patterson. “Our team knew we had the capability of winning a state championship and it has shown so far. We want to get back to the state final and have a better outcome.”
Freehold Township’s only loss this season came in a 2-1 setback to Archbishop Spalding High School of Severn, Md., on Sept. 18.
In its 10 victories, Freehold Township has outscored its opponents 40-3. The dominance his team has displayed on the pitch is a credit to the confidence and teamwork his players possess, said Patterson.
“We have confidence we can beat anybody,” the coach said. “I have never had a team like this which brings so much energy to the field during practice and in games. The players are always supporting each other. It’s really great to watch.”
The team’s success through 11 matches has come without 2021 leading scorer Cassidy Corcione, who is out for the season with a knee injury she sustained during the offseason.
Patterson has watched the senior leadership of Gabby Koluch and Kayla Wong, paired with the playmaking abilities of sophomore Gaby Parker and juniors Ainsley Moy and Hailey Santiago, lift the Patriots to dominance.
Santiago leads the team with 11 goals and has added five assists.
Parker, who scored 15 goals as a freshman, has scored nine goals this season while adding six assists.
Moy, who has committed to attend Texas Christian University, has scored eight goals and contributed five assists.
Wong and Koluch have provided strong leadership in midfield and on the back line.
Wong, who is committed to play at Princeton University next season, has scored three goals and contributed six assists.
Koluch has helped to anchor a defensive unit that has only conceded five goals. Koluch, who has committed to Villanova University, has scored four goals this season.
Sophomore goalkeeper Ashley Moore has been outstanding in net during her second varsity season, tallying 34 saves and recording eight shutouts.
Sophomores Danielle Howard, Sophie Tonino, Chloe Waters and Sophia Santorelli have also made contributions to the team’s success thus far.
With the 2022 A North title already locked up, the Patriots will now focus on the Shore Conference Tournament. Freehold Township is the defending champion and has earned the No. 1 seed and a first round bye.
The Patriots will host Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School or Matawan Regional High School in the second round of the conference tournament on Oct. 13.
The Patriots will be trying to win the third Shore Conference Tournament title in the program’s history.
In a season of redemption, Patterson said his players would love nothing more than to win another Shore Conference Tournament championship and make it a part of their journey in their bid to win a state title.
“It definitely feels good” being the No. 1 seed. “The girls have worked really hard to get that position. This is just the beginning of our journey,” the coach said.