Eagle girls off to fast start in A North Division soccer

first_imgBY MATTHEW ROCCO Correspondent Middletown High School South’s girls soccer team posted a signature victory against defending division champion Freehold Township on Sept. 12.Sophomore defender Deanna Rotella moved the ball past midfield before sending it to junior midfielder Kate Spence, who found the back of the net with only two minutes left in the second overtime period. Spence’s goal secured a 3-2 win over a Freehold Township team that led the Shore Conference’s Class A North Division last season and was favored to repeat this year.Midfielders Christine Despirito (senior) and Ashley Pankey (junior) also scored for Middletown South.Middletown South opened the season on Sept. 8 with a 4-2 victory over Howell. On Saturday (Sept. 17), the Eagles shut out rival Middletown North, 4-0. Junior midfielder Bridget Skinner had a goal, and junior goalie Lauren Van Exter made four saves.Skinner also scored twice Monday to lead the Eagles (4-0) over Manalapan, 2-1, for their fourth consecutive win to start the season . “We are getting a little more balance in our scoring,” said co-head coach Tara Ernst, noting that Skinner was the primary scorer last season. “We are working on things like corner-kick plays and changing up our formation.” The Eagles returned most of their starters from the 2010 season, and the experience is paying off for Middletown South.“They are used to playing with each other,” Ernst said.But with more experience comes greater expectations. Middletown South earned the opportunity to play in the postseason last year, making the second rounds of both the Shore Conference andNJSIAA tournaments. It was a step in the right direction for the program.“We got playoff experience last year, and we’ve made it one of our goals to go further this year,” Ernst said.After two seasons as head coach, Ernst is coaching alongside Kristen Haar this season. Haar served as Middletown South’s head coach for 14 years before Ernst, who played under Haar from 1997 to 2001, took over.“I’m happy to be with Haar this season. She’s still very intense, and I think, now that we are colleagues, I understand why she made the decisions she did when she was my coach,” Ernst said.The Eagles were scheduled to face off against Freehold Township again on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Middletown South will play Marlboro and Middletown North next week.last_img

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