EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The Mainland Regional High School girls soccer team’s outstanding season came to an end Wednesday as Toms River South beat the Mustangs 3-2 in the second overtime of the South Jersey Group III semifinals.
Indians senior Aliya Canfield scored the winning goal from 12 yards out with 5 minutes, 26 seconds left in the second 10-minute overtime period.
Mainland, the second seed and ranked No. 4 in The Press Elite 11, ended at 18-4-1. Third-seeded Toms River South, ranked 10th in the Elite 11, improved to 13-3-3. The Indians travel to top-seeded Moorestown on Friday for the championship game. Moorestown (18-4) defeated fifth-seeded Ocean City 5-0 in the other semifinal.
Mainland rallied to tie the game twice in the first half, 1-1 on a goal by Serena D’Anna, and 2-2 when Julianna D’Onofrio scored with 2:05 left before halftime. Mainland had the territorial edge in a scoreless second half.
“I think we have a great team, and a great group of seniors,” Mainland coach Alex Weidman said. “They played their hearts out. Sometimes these things happen, and it breaks your heart. We thought we had found something that would work. There was scoring in the first half and then both teams made adjustments. The game went the distance and they (South) got one in.”
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Mainland on Tuesday, but the rain made the Mustangs field unplayable. The game was moved the Egg Harbor Township High School’s artificial turf field.
South had a corner kick with under six minutes left in the second overtime, and Canfield scored after a quick pass from Shayla Scully.
“Scully got the ball off a defender, and I was just there for the volley,” said Canfield, an 18-year-old Toms River resident. “Honestly, we’ve had several overtime games this year (six), so we kind of knew what to do. We just kept working hard. in the second half we picked it up a little.”
South’s Julia Towell opened the scoring on a header in front in the 11th minute. D’Anna tied it six minutes later on a rebound shot at the right post, after South goalie Julia Mendez made a save on Mainland’s Camryn Dirkes. Scully scored for the Indians with 3:35 left in the first half, and Caitlyn Carroll got her second assist. D’Onofrio made it 2-2 with 2:05 remaining in the half.
Mainland Lila Schoen made three saves, while Mendez had six stops.
South last won the South Jersey Group III title in 2015. The Indians lost in a quarterfinal last year.
“We’ve had so many overtime games this year. All of our games have been close,” South coach John Crowley said. “We played well today. Mainland is a great team and they’ve had a great season. We got a break and scored.”
Toms River South 2 0 0 1—3
Mainland 2 0 0 0—2
Goals—Towell, Scully, Canfield TRS. D’Anna, D’Onofrio MR.
Goalies—Mendez (6) TRS. Schoen (3) MR.
Records—TRS 13-3-3, MR 18-4-1.
Contact: 609-272-7210 GGargan@pressofac.com