Colts Neck, N.J. - It was smooth sailing for the Colts Neck High School field hockey team in its matchup against West Windsor-Plainsboro North on Saturday in the quarterfinals NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 Tournament.

The No. 3 seeded Cougars rolled to a 3-0 victory over the No. 6 seeded Knights for their fifth straight victory and advanced to their first sectional semifinal in two years.

“Feels really good to get a big win like this in the quarterfinals,” said Colts Neck field hockey coach Maria Merlucci. It really boosted our confidence going into the next round. We got a lot of opportunities in the offensive circle.”

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Senior Gaberiella Catadlo continued to add to her impressive stat line during the Cougars’ five-game winning streak, scoring her team-high 15th goal of the season towards the Colts Neck victory.

Cataldo has scored seven goals and dished out three assists in the last four games for Colts Neck.

Fellow senior teammate Isabella Ferrandino scored her 10th goal of the season during the victory, while junior Jess Thesing knocked home her eighth goal this fall to help Colts Neck win its 15th contest of the season.

Colts Neck goalkeeper Stephanie LoNano racked two saves in her 14th shutout this fall. The Cougars have not given up a goal during their five-game winning streak.

On offense, Colts Neck has scored a combined 21 goals in the last five games.

“We’ve been more aggressive in the offensive circle and getting more midfield shots,” Merlucci said. “We have more experience up top with most of our forwards returning from last year and that has helped us be more organized on offense.”

Colts Neck is 15-2-1 on the season.

The Cougars will travel to play No. 2 seed Chatham in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Just two years removed from winning the program’s first sectional championship, Merlucci believes her squad has what it takes to add a second sectional title to the team’s history.

“It’s all about the girls. They have bought into a higher level of field hockey and athleticism,” Merlucci said. “They all want to win really bad. When our team is on, we’re a tough team to beat.”

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