WEST LONG BRANCH - Southern Regional’s Sam Minafo scored a late first-half goal after a wild scramble in front of the cage to score the only goal of the game. Maitland Demand registered the assist. Minafo's goal was the difference as No. 3 seed Southern defeated No. 2 seed Shore, 1-0, at Shore Regional High School on Wednesday afternoon.
The Southern defense was strong defying the pressure from Shore Regional throughout the contest. Shore had an 18-2 advantage on penalty corners. Southern's defense and goalie Maddie Leyh stopped eight Shore penalty corners in the first half and 10 in the second half.
This is only the second time in Southern Regional field hockey history that the Rams will compete in the championship game
"Our defense stepped up" and played incredibly well. Maddy Leyh our goalie played great. Emma Wilhelm's play at center back was just incredible," said Coach Jenna Lombardo. "We are 20-1 overall (our only loss was to Shore in September_ and for only the second time in school history we are going to the Shore Conference Tournament championship game. Many considered this a rebuilding year, we don't rebuild, we reload."
The victorious Rams after today's victory (courtesy Rich Leyh)
Southern will face three-time defending SCT champion Rumson-Fair Haven in the SCT Final on Saturday. The game will be played at Raritan High School, game time to be announced. .