BRICK – Senior Dani Christ has done it again, this time in a 1-0 win to advance the No. 2 Dragons to the Central Jersey Group III state final on Friday.
Christ netted the game-winning goal to defeat No. 6 Colts Neck with five minutes left to play, clinching a finals spot for the first time since the late 90s.
“I just knew it had to be on target because there was five minutes left, so I knew every chance counted,” Christ said. “I looked at the clock and decided to take my time and put it where the keeper wasn’t. We haven’t won since the 90s and we’re trying to make history.”
Also contributing to the win was senior goalkeeper Molly Tully and junior defenders Tierney Garkowski and Paige Noonan. All three stepped up throughout the 80 minutes, denying the Colts Neck offense on corners, free kicks and all other scoring opportunities.
“We have every intention to win the state championship, we knew that Colts Neck was going to be lethal but we knew if we stayed on them and followed our marks through the box they’d have nothing on us. And that’s exactly what these two [Garkowski and Noonan] did today, and that’s why it was 1-0,” Tully said.
Possession was equal for most of the game, but when the Cougars threatened to score, the Dragons defense was on every single ball, either clearing it or stopping Colts Neck dead in their tracks.
“We were hectic in the beginning but we all calmed down and played together,” Noonan said.
“The defense just took care of it in the second half and they locked the game up for us tonight,” head coach Mike Berardinelli said.
Being the highest seed left in tournament play, Brick will host No. 5 Hopewell Valley on Saturday at 2 p.m. on the turf field at Drum Point Sports Complex.
“All of our practice has paid off, we work on the best ways to get the ball out and keep possession and I’m just so proud of our team,” Garkowski said.
For more on this story, read next week's edition of The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.