Just hours before last week’s Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament seeding meeting, the Old Bridge High School girls soccer team came up with their biggest win of the season, one that reshaped the Red Division standings.
The Knights, who have lost just once, took down rival East Brunswick 2-1 for their first victory against the perennial GMC power since 2006.
But early Friday morning, a panel of committee members awarded East Brunswick the top overall seed for the GMCT, despite the most recent victory by Old Bridge and the fact that they had one loss to East Brunswick’s three. In fact, a tie by East Brunswick against Monroe earlier this season gave the Bears one more point in the standings and allowed the committee to seed them ahead of Old Bridge.
Nonetheless, the Knights were the next team seeded and, if everything falls right, the two rivals will meet for the GMCT title Nov. 2 at Woodbridge High School.
“It’s unfortunate for us, but you have to get to the finals to win it,” Old Bridge head coach Rob Lozzi said. “I like the fact that my team may get a little tested; I want to stay sharp. There isn’t a big difference between the one and two seeds, in my opinion. Someone has to win it.”
Even though they are seeded behind them in the tournament, Old Bridge has already knocked East Brunswick from one of their perches this season. Throughout the history of the GMC, only two teams have won the Red Division title, with the Bears capturing all but two of those crowns and the Knights taking the others. With a head-to-head victory and a little bit of help, Old Bridge earned the Red Division title in 2013, with a roster that’s far from 100 percent healthy.
The Knights have been playing without 2012 first-team All-Area performer Courtney Durstewitz, who went out in the third preseason scrimmage with an injury, and starting goalkeeper Alley Mauer, who has been out for the last month with an ankle injury. But through it all, Lozzi has kept the team set on taking another crown from East Brunswick.
“Every team has to have a special group that’s a mixture of talent and chemistry and plays with a team-first approach,” Lozzi said. “This is a tight-knit group. The seniors were starters as freshmen and they’ve gotten better every year; it’s a team-centered approach. I don’t have to tell them what the goal is, they know and they wanted to leave with a Red Division title to validate the work they’ve put in. If we see them in the county finals, we have to do our job and execute and just stick to the gameplan.”
Metuchen’s Emily Corson finished the regular season with a GMC-high 33 points (19 goals, 14 assists). Carteret’s Fiorella Doglio posted 28 points (21 goals, eight assists) and teammate Ciara Alston scored the most goals in the conference this season with 24. Check out the Corner Kicks blog at http://blogs.mycentral jersey.com/soccer for a full listing of scoring leaders.
Wednesday’s GMCT schedule
17-Sayreville at 16-South Plainfield; 18-North Brunswick at 15-Colonia; 19-Timothy Christian at 14-Piscataway; 20-Cardinal McCarrick at 13-Wardlaw-Hartridge; 21-Mother Seton at 12-Carteret; 22-Middlesex at 11-Woodbridge.