The West Morris Central girls soccer team took on Scotch Plains in the North Jersey Section II Group 3 championship game. Scotch Plains was the favorite as the number 1 seed, sporting a gaudy record of 16 wins against 2 losses and 4 ties and came into the match with a 15-game unbeaten streak. But West Morris persevered in a game that ended up going to penalty kicks, winning in the 9th round of the shootout.
West Morris got off to a good start, carrying the action in the Scotch Plains end of the field and cashed in at the 12-minute mark when Emily Thomas headed in a corner kick from Kelly Kavanaugh for a 1-0 lead that held up through halftime.
In the second half, Scotch Plains opened up on fire and kept the Wolfpack bottled up in their end of the field. They kept the pressure on and evened the score at the 9-minute mark and were clearly outplaying West Morris.
But the Wolfpack regained their composure and things looked good at the 19-minute mark when West Morris took back the lead. Megan Monaco threw the ball into Kavanaugh on the wing. Kavanaugh cut the ball back and played a cross into the middle where Ana Doyle scored with a blast into the net for a 2-1 lead.
Both teams had opportunities and as time wound down, things looked great for West Morris but Scotch Plains scored with 5 minutes remaining to force the game into sudden death overtime.
Both teams had some chances but overtime ended still tied, so the match would be decided on penalty kicks. In the first round of 5, things looked grim as the Wolfpack immediately fell behind 2-0 after two rounds. But then Megan Monaco and Allie Ketzler converted and goalie Kendall Ballotti made the big save that the Wolfpack needed and after four rounds, it was tied at 2. In the 5th round Kelly Kavanaugh nailed her shot but so did Scotch Plains, taking the match to sudden death rounds.
Both teams scored in the first three rounds of sudden death, with Monaco, Ketzler and Kavanaugh coolly converting for West Morris. Then in the 9th round, Ana Doyle took her first penalty kick of the season and rifled it home. The next Scotch Plains shooter hit her ball wide and the Wolfpack grabbed the Sectional Championship, earning the right to play in the state semifinals against Northern Highlands next Tuesday.