HOLMDEL, NJ - Highlander senior Logan Dooley scored the deciding goal during the fifth and final penalty-kick session to give his soccer team a 4-3 victory and the 2014 NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 2 Title on Thursday against Holmdel.
"Last time we were in the sectional finals, we had the best team and didn't win -- I don't think we had the best team going into the sections - it's the tale of two seasons," said coach Bruno Somma.
The 13th-seeded Highlanders were 4-15-1 during regular season play, facing teams like Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Westfield and Elizabeth. The Highlanders defeated No. 4 seed Manasquan, No. 5 seed Arthur L. Johnson, No. 1 seed Point Pleasant and No. 7 Holmdel to earn this championship title.
"This is the first time we have won in 20 years, I can't wait to see the banner," said goalkeeper Jake Topor.
The Hornets dominated the physical match throughout the entire game. GL played back, defending the Hornets' aggressive pressure.
"We defended very well," said Somma. "Jacob was amazing in goal today -- he made some huge saves and came out big. The defense, all of them, you really can't single any one of them out, they all played extremely well."
GL had a few scoring opportunities, but their focus was on defending and not attacking.
The Hornets drove towards the goal with multiple scoring opportunities but couldn't get past Topor, who rescued every attempt sending the game to OT, 0-0.
"The defense and the entire team had my back," said Topor.
Gino D’Agostino made his way past the Highlanders defenders in OT, firing the golden shot past Topor to hit the left post instead of finding the net.
"We knew, if we got to PKs, we are going to win," said junior Mike Coimbra. "Topor has never lost a shoot out. If that is what it takes, we were okay with that. We were okay defending and not attacking.That is what made us be able to do that throughout the whole game."
Senior Mike McKenna, junior Michael Coimbra, freshman Josiah Crawford and senior Logan Dooley all converted their penalty-kicks to give Gov. Livingston a 4-3 win in the shoot out.
Dooley was the fifth kicker for GL -- he blocked the enormity of his shot out of his mind. "I just tried not to think about it. The most I could do was think about putting the ball in the goal and that's it," said Dooley.