By Ryan Sy and Catherine Prasad
The whistle blew and a champion was crowned, the Wall High School girls soccer team won the Group II championship for the first time outright after being co-champions last school year.
The Crimson Knights defeated Westward 4-3 for the Group II championship on Sat., Nov. 18. The win was the second straight for the Knights and the second championship for a group of seniors that have led this program to the top.
“The girls did not want the season to end,” said Mr. Michael Juska, the girls soccer coach who was Coach of the Year in 2016 following his first championship. “The seniors went above and beyond.”
In overtime, senior Hailee Reinhardt put in the game-winning goal and secured the Group II title for the second straight season for the Knights.
“Tying with the state finals last year left a bad taste in all the girls’ mouths,” Mr. Juska said. “I know they wanted to be outright champs this year.”
The first goal of the game was scored by senior Sarah Gordon. Then another senior, Jenna Karabin, scored after Gordon. Before halftime, however, Westward put in two goals to even the score. Then in the second half, Gordon added her second goal it make the score 3-2. Westward evened up the score. At the end of regular time, the score was tied at three, then the game went into the overtime period.
“After halftime, we got back into our groove,” said sophomore Jordan Cheche, Wall’s starting goalkeeper. “I was the only starter who was not a senior.”
This win is huge for the seniors, who came away victorious in the final game of their high school career. It also makes this win so sweet for them to finish as champions.
Next season, Wall will look to fill the void that the seniors are going to leave behind. The Knights will lose Cara Capra, Isabella Cavazzoni, Meghan Corbran, Jamie Iorio, Katie Kile, Morgan Knight, Amy Paternoster, Joan Scheit, Margaret Wishart, Jenna and Lauren Karabin, as well as Gordon and Reinhardt. Those 13 seniors positions will need to be filled for next season.
The victory ends a season where the Knights’ final record of 24-1-2 and a first-place finish in the Shore Conference B North Division.