Goal of the Week

Each week, Corner Kicks takes a closer look at a key goal.

Gabriella McKeown

Lower Cape May Reg. junior midfielder

Lower Cape May Regional High School junior Gabriella McKeown’s first goal was one of many in a 5-4 win over Cape-Atlantic League National Conference opponent Middle Township on Thursday.

It certainly stood out from the game’s other eight scores, however.

McKeown displayed some impressive footwork as she worked the ball up the field, put it between two defenders and finished off for a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the game. The midfielder’s 52nd career goal made her Lower Cape May’s all-time leading scorer. 2010 alum Frankie Gibson held the previous mark (51).

Neighborhood rivals Lower and Middle battled for first place in Division I of the National Conference. The Caper Tigers last win over the Panthers was Oct. 2, 2009.

“I wasn’t even thinking of the record,” McKeown said. “I was honestly more excited to score on Middle.”

She later scored again and had an assist.

McKeown said she’d forgotten about the record until she heard it announced to the crowd. The rare night game drew lots of fans from both teams.

The atmosphere added to the hype. The crowd inspired McKeown and her teammates to keep fighting even after Middle rallied from a 4-0 deficit to come within a goal.

“The fans obviously helped a lot,” McKeown said. “We’ll need them at our away game (at Middle on Oct. 24).”

McKeown is one of the state’s biggest scoring threats. She has 25 goals in 11 games. She has 54 career goals.

Along with sophomore striker Madie Gibson (18 goals), the Caper Tigers are tough to maintain. The duo combined for three goals against Middle.

“We’ve got two of the best attackers, in my opinion, in South Jersey. Those two are amazing, they work really well together,” Lower coach Brett Matthews said after Thursday’s game.

Brittany Grugan