Near the beginning of October, the Red Bank Catholic girls soccer team and Shore Regional were schedule for a game at Count Basie Field in Red Bank for what should have been a great showdown between two perennial postseason contenders.
That game, however, turned into a blowout as Red Bank Catholic toppled Shore, 8-1, on Oct. 2.
The rematch, which came 15 days later, was a much different story.
Shore jumped out to a 2-1 halftime lead but Red Bank Catholic scored two unanswered goals in the second half and the Caseys rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Blue Devils in a nail-biting, heart-pounding affair that the first game was expected to be.
Shore’s Chloe Wollman (one goal), Julia Eichenbaum (one goal, one assist) and Moira Hegglin (13 saves) staked the Blue Devils (12-4) to that early lead.
But Red Bank Catholic’s Morgan Cupo with her goal with 19:03 left in the second half and Reagan Pauwels with her game-winning goal with 6:20 left in the second half each simply seized the momentum in the Shore Conference Tournament quarterfinal round game. In addition, Red Bank Catholic goalie Cleo Grignard made seven saves.
“I just wanted it (the shot) to get on frame. I wanted anything (a shot) that had a chance of going in,” Pauwels said. “Even my first goal, it bounced (in). It wasn’t a good shot but it somehow got in. Anything on frame works sometimes.”
It did on Thursday afternoon for the Caseys (13-1-1), who are 9-0-1, in their last 10 games including that aforementioned win over Shore. The last time Red Bank Catholic lost a game, it was a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to Middletown South in overtime.
Coincidentally, the Caseys will face the No. 2 seed Eagles in the SCT semifinals on Oct. 19 at Shore Regional High School at 1 p.m. for the right to play in the SCT Final on Oct. 23 at Shore Regional High School at 5 p.m.