Brave Elements to Win First National Title for Women's Soccer
By Mike Ready
DRYDEN, N.Y. – The No.1 ranked Brookdale women’s soccer team (17-1-1), unranked in preseason polls, brought home Brookdale’s fifth national championship and the women’s soccer programs first, defeating No.2 Mohawk Valley 4-3 Sunday in the NJCAA DIII National Championship game at Tomkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, N.Y.
“I have 16 girls on this team and all 16 of them helped us to win this championship,” Brookdale head coach Katie Miller said. ”I don’t have words to describe how proud I am of all of them for working so hard all year long and believing in me as their coach.”
Brookdale carried a 3-1 lead late into the second half until Mohawk Valley’s Jordan Case scored two quick back-to-back goals in the 70th and 75th minutes to tie the game. Meghan Carlo and Silvana Giovannone assisted on the goals.
“It was difficult out there,” Miller said. “In 90 minutes we had rain, snow, sleet, hail and a very gusty wind. The ball and the field were both really slick. They got two through balls and shots that just took off and skidded along the surface; Erin (goalkeeper Erin Kinneman) didn’t have a chance.”
“After they tied us the girls were pretty calm,” Miller added. “I told them, ‘keep playing our game, don’t let that stuff bother you- this is what a championship game is like- this is what you worked for all season and now you have to figure it out.’”
The Blues then regrouped and did figured it out, scoring the game winner with 5:22 remaining on the clock. Freshman Amanda Anastasia (Middletown South H.S.) headed in a perfectly placed corner kick off the foot of sophomore Keara Homan (Manasquan H.S.) clinching the title for Brookdale.
“It doesn’t matter when I put Amanda in the game,” Miller said. “She always goes out there and plays, she’s like our secret weapon off the bench and Keara’s corner kick was awesome.”
“Once we took the lead we just kept sending the ball up the field,” Miller added. “We had Caroline (freshman attacker Caroline Duerr (Manasquan)) dribble up to the flags and possess the ball to kill time. We controlled the ball the final five minutes. Caroline is an amazing dribbler and ball handler; there was no one in the tournament who could stop her. I’m so proud of her; she doesn’t know just how good she is.”
Duerr handed the Blues a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute off an assist from sophomore All-American Chelsea James (Howell H.S.). Freshman Brooke Tartis (Neptune H.S.) put Brookdale up by two with sophomore midfielder Kathaleen Flannigan (Shore Regional) assisting on the play.
The Hawks responded five minutes later, on a Megan Carlo unassisted goal, cutting the lead to one, 2-1, at the half.
Seven minutes into the second half sophomore midfielder Alexa Masino (Howell H.S.) rocketed a 25-yard shot for the third goal to put the Blues up by two again, 3-1, setting the stage for their late game dramatics. Duerr assisted on the play for her third point of the game.
James, Anastasia and sophomore defender, Lauren Bowler (Red Bank Regional) were named to the All-Tournament team. Duerr was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while sophomore goalkeeper Erin Kinneman (Matawan H.S.) was named Defensive Player of the Tournament. Head coach Katie Miller was named Coach of the Tournament.
This was Broodale’s first national tournament final appearance since 2006. On that 2006 squad, Miller was an All-Region XIX defender, and a member of that team that lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Richland, Texas in the final.
James finishes the season tied for second in goals scored (24), second in assists (20) and second in total points (68) in the NJCAA DIII final statistics. Masino ranked fifth in goals (22), and 10th in points (47), while Duerr placed 10th in goals scored (20), 16th in assists (10) and seventh in total points (50).
Homan completed the season tied for fourth in assists (15), Tartis was ninth with 12 while Bowler and freshman Simone McEnough finished tied for 24th with nine assists.
Kinneman was second in shutouts with nine and third in goals-against average while posting a .847 save percentage, good for 12th in NJCAA DIII play. Kinneman allowed only 11 goals in 16 games while in the nets for the Blues.
“Erin was awesome the whole tournament,” Miller said. “That penalty kick game; ‘Oh my gosh was she good.’ I don’t think it phased her, the nerves didn’t get to her and she just went out there and did the best she could. She dealt with horrible weather conditions today and there was nothing she could’ve done about those three goals.”
“I’m so happy for my sophomore’s,” Miller said. “When they first came to me we had five girls at our first meeting and I just told them to stick it out. There were times last year when we were lucky to field 11 players and almost never had substitutes. They persevered, and for them to come all this way is incredible.”
“They matched their excellence on the field in the classroom,” Miller added. “They demonstrated what the student athlete is all about at Brookdale. I’ve never been so proud, I love every one of them and I’m really going to miss them; it was an awesome run.”
Follow me @getmready