Colts Neck, N.J. - Jordana Golove might only be a sophomore, but the underclassman played like a veteran in clutch moments to help the Colts Neck High School girls soccer team rally in its opening round matchup against Lawrence in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3 Tournament on Monday afternoon.
Her team trailing by a goal with under five minutes to play, Golove used her head to find the back of the net for the game-tying goal to help Colts Neck force overtime.
In the extra session, the sophomore again stepped up in the biggest moment. Corralling a nice pass from teammate Ashley Cataneo off the throw-in, Golove slammed home the game-winning goal with 6:45 to go in the first overtime to send Colts Neck to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory over Lawrence.
“It’s amazing,” Golove said. “I can’t even describe it. As a forward, my job is to do my best to score to help the team win. I’m so happy I was able to score both those goals.”
Besides the first 10 minutes of the contest, Colts Neck was out of sync for the next 65 minutes of game action and having trouble finding a rhythm on offense.
The game still scoreless with under 14 minutes to go in regulation, Lawrence drew first blood to grab a 1-0 lead.
Off a nice pass from teammate Lauren Edgar, Kaitlyn Maloney dashed into the Colts Neck zone and knocked in her team-high 12th goal of the season with 13:06 left to play to shoot Lawrence into the lead.
Trailing by a goal and their season on the line, the Cougars didn’t panic and worked their way to getting corner kick opportunity with four minutes to play.
Catching Lawrence off guard, Eva Roros dribbled in the corner kick and ripped a perfect pass to the box for Golove to head in the first of her game-high two goals to tie the game at 1-1 with 3:51 to go.
“I’ve been practicing my heading so much that I knew that was the moment to do it,” Golove said. “When I got it in I was so happy.”
The two teams stayed even the rest of the regulation to force overtime.
Controlling most of the action in overtime, Colts Neck got an opportunity to try a long throw-in with Cataneo with seven minutes to go in the first overtime period.
The senior’s throw-in landed perfectly at the feet of Golove who turned around and fired in her first career high school game-winning goal to punch Colts Neck’s ticket back to the quarterfinals.
“It feels so good to score the game-winning goal,” Golove said. “All of us didn’t want this to be our seniors last game, so we all knew we had to put our best effort to do that. Now, it’s not our seniors last game and I’m very happy.”
Colts Neck goalkeeper Kaitlyn Torres had seven saves in the win.
With the win, Colts Neck improves to 8-6-2 on the season and extends its winning streak to three straight games.
“We played well at the right times and the girls didn’t lose their heads and kept at it,” said Colts Neck girls soccer Kevin Hein. “We scored at the right times to get the win. This is the first time all year that we’re healthy and everyone is playing. When our team plays together, they play well.”
The Cougars will now gear up to face No. 2 seed Brick Township in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Losing a 1-0 heartbreaker to Brick in the semifinals last year, Colts Neck is hoping to get a little revenge on the Dragons and advance back to the semifinals.
“A lot of our returners remember well how it felt to lose to Brick last year and are looking to avenge last year’s loss,” Hein said. “We know it’s going to be tough.”
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports