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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jan 03, 2018

Colts Neck Field Hockey Captures First Ever State Title

By Les Pierce

The Colts Neck field hockey team had never won a state title, or any title, in the prior 18-year history of the program. At 12 games into the regular season, the Cougars remained undefeated, a strong indication this could be the breakthrough year, and it ultimately would be.

Colts Neck captured the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 NJSIAA State Sectional championship via a 2-0 win over crosstown rival Freehold Borough. The Colonials arrived on the field as the defending champions, but the Cougars seemed unimpressed and took control of the play early on. Both Colts Neck goals came in the first half and both on well executed penalty corners.

Ally Royle broke the ice with the first goal of the contest on an assist by Jenna Filingeri about 17 minutes into the contest.  Later in the first half, Aryana Muscara scored to establish a 2-0 advantage. The Colts Neck defense had allowed only 12 goals in the previous 18 games, and with those credentials, a two-goal lead would be sufficient. Sophomore goalkeeper Stephanie LoNano was credited with four saves for her 12th shutout of the season. Colts Neck extended their record to 17-1-1 with the victory.

For the Cougars, this was truly a year of firsts. Earlier in the season, they claimed the A North Division championship, an achievement that has eluded the team since inception.

Fifth year head coach Maria Merlucci stated, “The team was led by six seniors whose hard work and determination set the tone for the season.” The squad’s seniors have indeed distinguished themselves. Amy Flood led the offense with 17 goals and two assists and was named to the A North division team and second team all Group 3. Amy McGee tallied 12 goals and nine assists, and Ally Royle contributed seven goals and four assists. Madison Bellows led the defense and was named the A North Player of the Year and third team all Group 3. Midfielder Aryana Muscara scored eight goals, was credited with eight assists on the season, and was named to the A North Division team. She has committed to play at Stevens Institute of Technology next fall.