2007-11-14 / Sports

Metuchen claims another Group I crown

Girls soccer wins third title in a row
BY SHAWN LAYTON Staff Writer

Apair of game-winning goals off the feet of Abby Dingle helped propel the Metuchen High School girls soccer team to its third straight Central Jersey Group I title last week.

PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff Above: Metuchen's Jordan McVicker is clearly spent after taking part in her school's 1-0 win over Robbinsville in the Central Jersey Group I Sectional final last Thursday. Right: Metuchen defender Lindsey Peragallo (left) and Robbinsville forward Nicole Sandusky (right) compete for the ball during the first half of the game. PHOTOS BY ERIC SUCAR staff Above: Metuchen's Jordan McVicker is clearly spent after taking part in her school's 1-0 win over Robbinsville in the Central Jersey Group I Sectional final last Thursday. Right: Metuchen defender Lindsey Peragallo (left) and Robbinsville forward Nicole Sandusky (right) compete for the ball during the first half of the game. In the 1-0 win over Robbinsville in the title game, Dingle found the back of the net with just over 13 minutes to play. In a game in which the Bulldogs were outshot 15-8, Metuchen goalkeeper Caitlin Walker certainly earned her stripes.

"She made some huge saves late in the game," Metuchen head coach Val Gazda said. "They really put pressure on her, and she came up with big stops with seven and four minutes left in the game."

Heading into the final game, Gazda was concerned with the style of play Robbinsville would throw at the Bulldogs.

"They are very similar to us in terms of style," Gazda said. "Both teams like to play possession, and we had to not let them do exactly what we wanted to do, and this isn't always easy. I knew we would have to make the best of every shot, and fortunately we did just that."

In addition to the timely goal of Dingle and the impenetrable goaltending from Walker, the Bulldogs got masterly defense from Kamila Lapkiewicz.

"We put Kamila in back to shut down Robbinsville's major offensive threat," Gazda said. "She did a real nice job."

The Bulldogs advanced to the final with more second-half heroics from Dingle. After playing Middlesex to a 1-1 tie through the first half, Dingle's game-winner came just three minutes into the second half.

"We had 10 days off before meeting Middlesex for a third time this year," Gazda said. "I think that made a difference, and it took awhile for us to get going."

As a result of the layoff, Metuchen saw Middlesex take an early 1-0 lead behind Brittany Glen's first-half score. Lapkiewicz evened the score for the Bulldogs.

In the second half, Metuchen put constant pressure on Middlesex goalkeeper Andrea Mantell. The Dogs outshot the Blue Jays 13-0 in the second half and 23- 2 for the entire contest but failed to put Middlesex away.

"We really dominated the second half and had plenty of opportunities," Gazda said. "We were never really threatened in the second half, but it was difficult to see so many golden opportunities pass without a score."

Next up for the Bulldogs is Pennsville in the Group I semifinals. The two teams were scheduled to meet earlier in the week at Toms River South High School with a trip to the Group I finals at stake.

"I know they have a big scorer and we'll probably ask Kamila to move to the back like she did for us against Robbinsville," Gazda said. "If we need to shut somebody down, Kamila is going to be part of the mix."

The team entered this week's action at 14-6-1 on the season. The last time the Metuchen soccer team pulled off three straight sectional titles was from 1988- 1990.

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