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Warriors are SCT bound

October 11, 2012

MANASQUAN — With a crucial, 2-0 victory over Monmouth Regional High School at Pat Barnaba Field last Friday afternoon, the Manasquan field hockey team improved to 5-4-3 on the season, which officially qualified the group for the Shore Conference Tournament [SCT].

Though many teams will be punching their respective tickets to the prestigious tournament, the Warriors will be doing it with just a little bit more pride. That is because this group, entering the season with a lot of question marks due to high graduation numbers, was able to come together and attain a goal which may have seemed like a stretch when starting camp this summer.

“It is a really big accomplishment for this squad,” said a proud Pam Cosse, the Warriors’ head coach, after the win. “We came into the season young and inexperienced. I wanted them to believe in themselves this year.”

Knowing a trip to the SCT was just a win away, Manasquan came out ready to go on its home field Friday, taking an early advantage over the Falcons.

“Our whole team was ready to come out and get the win,” said junior captain Molly Bryant. “We came out on fire and really played as a team.”

In the eighth minute of the game, senior Kaleigh Jordan scored the contest’s first goal off an assist from freshman Jess Cooney to put the Warriors up, 1-0.

Taking a one-goal advantage into the second half, Manasquan extended its lead to 2-0 on a goal from Bryant with 25 minutes remaining in the game.

Bryant’s goal was the first of her varsity career, as she does not see many opportunities as the team’s starting sweeper.

“It was an awesome feeling,” Bryant said of finding the back of the net for the first time. “I was really excited, and the team was really supportive.”

Bryant’s first career goal sealed things for the Warriors, and also accounted as the second assist for Cooney, who, as a freshman, was making her first career varsity start.

“I was really nervous,” Cooney said of getting the start. “I played in a couple of varsity scrimmages, but never started in a game before.”

Cooney may have felt nerves, but she certainly didn’t show it on Monday. Cosse was proud of how aggressively her freshman played.

“Jess Cooney has been playing rec field hockey for me since the fourth grade and she has always loved it,” Cosse said. “She is excited about the game and she has courage. I think all the freshmen coming in are really enjoying it. She was great today.”

Cosse knows the Warriors have the ability to play stellar field hockey when her players are exuding confidence on the field.

“They know how to play good hockey and they know how to execute,” said the coach, who also saw her team play great defense in earning a shutout against the Falcons. “You saw that today.”

Following the win over Monmouth Regional, Cosse looked forward to the opportunity to see her squad compete in the SCT.

The SCT seeding meeting was held on Tuesday night. The Warriors drew Point Pleasant Borough in the first round [see related story].

The coach wants her team to play in the SCT the same way it played on Friday against the Falcons — confidently.

“It is time to put the big girl pants on and get ready to go hard,” Cosse said with a smile. “They have to remember that on any given day, anything can happen. They have to continue to believe in themselves.”

The players shared their coach’s excitement for the tournament.

“We are really excited to go to the SCT,” Bryant said. “We are ready to go.”

Information regarding the Warriors’ first-round matchup against Point Pleasant Borough in the SCT will be available in the Oct. 18 edition of The Coast Star, along with the progress of Wall, which also qualified.

Follow me on twitter: @samcostantino

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