Colts Neck, N.J. - The Colts Neck High School girls soccer team played its best game of the season on Thursday afternoon and it was all in honor of last year’s team mom Patricia Pecoraro.

Suddenly passing away January 8, 2019, Pecoraro is sadly missed by so many in the Colts Neck Community. 

Colts Neck paid tribute to Pecoraro before its game against Shore Conference B-North Division foe Middletown North, and the Cougars gave it their heart and soul to honor their fallen team mom by winning their sixth game of the season.

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Behind the lead of senior Eva Roros, the Cougars roared to a 3-1 victory over Middletown North to improve to a mark of (6-6-2) on the season.

“We knew we had to play our best game to stay with Middletown North and as it turns out, we did,” said Colts Neck girls soccer coach Kevin Hein. “We’ve had a hard time playing a full 80 minutes this year. We’ve been up on a couple good teams and then given the lead away. The girls were really inspired to play in memory of Mrs. Pecoraro and that gave us the momentum to finish the game.”

Roros put Colts Neck in the driver's seat right off the bat, lasering home her third goal of the season off the free kick in the seventh minute to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.

“I was really happy about my goal,” Roros said. “It really brought the team together. All the girls were playing for our team mom that passed away in January, so it was a big game for us.”

Colts Neck’s offense continued to roll in the first half, extending its lead to 2-0 with 12:21 left to play in the half.

Corralling the loose ball just above the box, Julianna Florio launched home her first goal of the season to give the Cougars a two-goal lead.

“It was really exhilarating,” Florio said. “I didn’t think it was going to go in. I thought it was going to go over the net, but it went in. As we scored throughout the game, we all came together and played well.”

Moments later on the other side of the field, Colts Neck got two huge stops by freshman defender Kylie Jacoutot, kicking away two Middletown North shots on net to keep it a two-goal lead for the Cougars.

Sophomore Madelyn Moore helped end a dominating first half performance by the Cougars with earning her first career high school goal. 

With just under three minutes to play, Moore made a great run to the net where she received a perfect pass to the box off the foot of teammate Ashley Cataneo.

Set up to score her first career goal and give Colts Neck a commanding three-goal lead, the sophomore didn’t miss her chance to shine, striking in her first goal of the fall with 2:57 left in the half to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead going into halftime.

“I made a good run towards the net and scored lefty off a nice pass from Ashley Cataneo,” Moore said. “It felt really good. I knew we needed to score a lot of goals to beat Middletown North because they’re a good team.”

Colts Neck held on to its three-goal advantage all the way until the 65th minute mark when Middletown North got on the board thanks to junior Ashley Dietrich smashing in her sixth goal of the season, trimming the Cougars’ lead to 3-1.

Despite panicking like in past games this season, the Cougars stayed strong after Dietrich’s goal and continued to control the action of the game as they rolled to their first victory in three games.

“This win proves that we can play with good teams,” Hein said. “This was a true team win for us. It gives us a lot of confidence and positivity moving forward.” 

Junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Torres had two saves in a half of action for the Cougars, while Jill Carson added three saves in net during the second half for Colts Neck.

Ellie Kacen racked up a game-high nine saves for Middletown North in net during the first half, with freshman goalkeeper Maura Chawner finishing with five saves during her time in net for the Lions in the second half.

Colts Neck improves to (4-0-2) in the B-North Division play, while Middletown North drops to (4-3).

The Lions are now (8-6-1) overall on the season.

As the Cougars huddled up with coach Hein after their win, the team couldn’t help but be happy and proud of what they accomplished in beating Middletown North, not to mention honoring their fallen team mom in a terrific and heartwarming way.

“It means a lot to the girls on the team and coach Hein to win the game for Mrs. Pecoraro,” Roros said. “She did a lot for us last year. Felt great. This was a big win for us.”

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports