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Girls Soccer Co-Champions in Non-Public A final
Posted 11/16/2016 12:40PM

Every time Oak Knoll scored, Red Bank Catholic answered.

The two teams combined for four goals in a seven-minute span in the final 20 minutes of regulation, and ended the second overtime period tied 3-3 to finish as co-champions of the Non-Public A state tournament at Kean University on Sunday evening.

It was the first championship for Red Bank Catholic since 2010, when it was co-champion with Immaculate Heart, and it was its third co-championship and fifth championship overall

"Obviously, you want to win it all and say you won the game, but we're still champions," Red Bank Catholic coach Frank Lawrence said. "Both teams deserve it, and if we had gone to PKs and one team won on that, I'd have thought it was a travesty.

"Coming back is not easy. It's a tough thing to do and that's the thing that really makes me proud of them."

At 15-10 and as the sixth seed in the South Jersey, Non-Public A bracket, this didn't seem like the year that the Caseys would add to its mantle. But finally healthy, Red Bank Catholic beat Camden Catholic, Bishop Ahr, Mount St. Mary and Notre Dame in the sectional playoffs before earning the tie on Sunday.

"We had an incredible number of injuries throughout the season," Lawrence said. "So we had a lack of consistency with who was on the field and who was training every week. When you have that it's hard to be consistent during the game. Gradually, we started to get people healthy and we started to be able to see how we could do things.

One of those injured returners, senior Sophie Demurjian scored the first goal for Red Bank Catholic to answer Ashley Ferry's goal that gave Oak Knoll a 1-0 lead. Jyllissa Harris sent a through ball that Demurjian flipped over the keeper's head.

"I was out for a month (with a pulled hamstring and a twisted ankle), and there were a lot of us in and out with injuries," Demurjian said. "It made us all come together more, and it was really exciting to be able to come back and play."

Meagan O'Callahan scored two goals for Oak Knoll, with her first bouncing off the crossbar, down, back up into the goalkeepers arms and then cleared. But after review the refs ruled the senior midfielder -- who also scored later on a bullet that went over the keeper from about 25 yards out -- scored as the ball crossed the goal line.

"Definitely frustrated at first (when it was ruled a goal), but then we realized if we just kept working hard and pushing for it -- we came back the first time and we were going to come back a second time," Demurjian said.

Red Bank Catholic answered within a few minutes each time, with Marisa Rafaniello scoring the first on an odd-man rush, as a falling teammate passed her the ball while battling a defender. Younger sister Juliana Rafaniello scored the second off a corner.

Red Bank Catholic High School
112 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701
(732) 747-1774
Website generously provided by the Red Bank Catholic Parent Connect
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