FREEHOLD, NJ- The Millburn Field Hockey Team faced their toughest opponent of the season, Freehold Borough, in the NJSIAA North 2, Group 3 State Tournament final over the weekend.
The Lady Millers built a respectable 10-8 regular season record, securing them a spot in the semifinal round of the Essex County Tournament, and the fourth seed in their group’s state tournament.
With their fourth seed bye, Millburn defeated fifth-seeded Hopewell Valley in the second round. The Lady Millers rolled over Summit in the semifinal round, 6-0, in a game of redemption, having lost to Summit earlier in the year. That win advanced Millburn to the final against the host team, second-seed Freehold Borough Lady Colonials.
Freehold plays on a grass field unlike many other teams on Millburn’s schedule. Before the game, Coach Pallino and Coach Parlavecchio admitted to not being a “grass team.” However, the Lady Millers were confident in their ability to finish their tournament run strong to cap off their 2016 season.
The two teams were locked in a scoreless stalemate through the first and second half. Although the Lady Colonials managed more shots on goal, Millburn’s keeper Raquel Winer kept all nine shots out. Her counterpart, Freehold Borough’s goalie Belly Reynoso had five saves at the end of regulation. Two overtime periods ended 0-0.
The game advanced to penalty strokes with Millburn and Freehold Borough both scoring three goals. The game advanced to a sudden death penalty stroke period. Freehold Borough prevailed, as Lindsay Koller scored the deciding goal, and Reynoso sealed the victory with her save moments after the score.
Freehold Borough will advance as the Section 2 champions to the semifinal round of the Group 3 state championship tournament against Section 1 champions Warren Hills on Wednesday. Although only one team can advance, both teams get a tie for overall season records.