This local sports news is brought to you by the childhood learning specialists at Neighborhood Lit.
MIDDLETOWN, NJ. - The Colts Neck High School girls lacrosse team picked up some much needed momentum on Monday as they prepare for the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 3 tournament later this week.
In its makeup game against Middletown North, Colts Neck powered through the rain to roll to a 18-6 victory and earn its second straight league title by clinching a share of the Shore Conference A-North Division championship.
“Winning the A-North Division was a goal of ours,” said Colts Neck girls lacrosse coach Christine Latteri. “That’s very exciting for us. We came into the game prepared and didn’t take Middletown North lightly.”
The game resumed with 14:31 to play in the first half and Colts Neck leading Middletown North 2-0 after Catherine O'Connor scored a goal off a nice pass from Kellie Russo.
Colts Neck’s lead jumped quickly to 4-0 with Russo adding in her first score of the contest and then teammate Sarah Shaughnessy knocking home her second goal.
Shaughnessy had a monster first half for the Cougars.
With under six minutes to go in the first half and Colts Neck leading 6-2, Shaughnessy secured her 14th hat trick of the season by fighting through contact off the free possession and firing a strike into the net to put the Cougars up five.
Following Jordana Tomasetti’s second goal of the half for Middletown North to cut the Colts Neck lead back to four, Shaughnessy answered right back for Colts Neck with about three and half minutes to go in the first half. Knocking home her fourth goal to put the Cougars up 8-3.
“I was very confident coming into the game,” Shaughnessy said. “I felt that most of the my shots were going into the net, so whenever I had the chance, I would take it and look for the assist also.”
Russo tallied her second goal of the half off a nice feed from O’Conner with 1:22 to go that allowed Colts Neck to take a 9-3 lead into halftime.
Shaughnessy continued to lead the way for Colts Neck in the second, doing it in all facets of the game.
The senior threw a perfect pass to O’Conner for Colts Neck’s first goal of the half that ushered a five-goal streak for the Cougars after Tomasetti’s hat trick to begin the second half for Middletown North.
Gabby Cataldo struck next for the Cougars and Shaughnessy followed by drilling in her fifth goal of the contest to make it 12-4.
After scoring her sixth goal of the game moments later, Shaughnessy showed off her assist skills once again, serving a perfect pass to Kayla Wade from behind the net for her only goal of the contest to give Colts Neck a 14-4 lead.
Shaughnessy later scored her game-high seventh goal to give Colts Neck a 17-6 lead with 3:30 left to play.
The senior now has a team-leading 72 goals scored on the season. Shaughnessy finished with three assists in the win.
“I love taking the ball to the net,” Shaughnessy said. “I love driving it. I love getting feeds and feeding people the ball. I just love looking at the net.”
Russo added in her fourth goal of the game to cap off the Cougars's win, giving her 34 goals scored on the season.
O'Connor dished out a team-high four assists and had three goals in the contest, giving Colts Neck three players with three or more goals in the win.
“Our team performed really well,” O'Connor said. “We connected on our passes and were good in transition. We did really well.”
Cataldo tallied home two goals in the win, while teammate Keegan Burns added a goal of her own for the Cougars.
Colts Neck is now 8-7 on the season and it’s the first time in program history that the team has won back-to-back division championships
The Cougars will host Toms River North on Tuesday before their sectional quarterfinal matchup against West Windsor-Plainsboro North on Thursday.
“I think if we all play and come together that we can be quite good,” Latteri said. “We’ve beaten some good teams this season. We’re going to prepare the best we can and hopefully the team will execute the game plan and play an all around good game.”
Tomasetti finished with a team-high four goals for Middletown North. The sophomore finishes with a team-high 50 goals for the season.
“(Jordana) had a great sophomore year for us,” said Middletown North girls lacrosse coach Kelly Booth. “We had a lot of underclassmen on our team. Going forward, I see a huge improvement from when we started the season.”
Olivia Cerbo and Nicole Bertha each scored a goal in the game for the Lions.
Middletown North finishes the season with a record of 4-15.
Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports