The Shore Conference has arguably been the best women’s soccer conference in the state for the past half-decade and the most questionable part of that statement is the term “arguably.”
Year after year, Shore teams are split into the State’s Top 20 and hold multiple spots in the NJSIAA State Finals, and it’s only the teams that make it that far. There are even more quality teams going under the radar and this season has confirmed that.
With some of the Shore Conference’s major women’s programs struggling, there was a group of teams ready to seize their opportunity and no team epitomized that more than Howell. The Rebels play in a Shore Conference Class A North division stacked with Freehold Township, Middletown South, Manalapan and Middletown North – all of whom have been decorated teams for at least part of the past five years.
This year, it’s Howell’s turn to shine in his busy division and busy conference. Last week, the Rebels managed St. Rose and beat Manalapan in back-to-back rounds of the Shore Conference Tournament to reach the TBS semifinals for the first time – a feat that earned them all six team awards Surf Taco of the week. .
After earning the final pass after round one as the No. 6 seed, Howell started his 2022 SCT run with a bang, especially his senior Riley Borenstein. With help from sophomore Madelyn Roberto, Borenstein scored all three goals in the 3-0 win over the Purple Roses which sent Howell through to the TBS quarter-finals. Roberto set up the first two with pinpoint corner kick serves, with Borenstein finishing both.
Next up for the Rebels was their rival Manalapan – a side that made it to the TBS semi-finals a season ago and won the No. 3 seed in this year’s squad. The two A North teams drew 1-1 in the regular season at Howell’s home ground and to earn an elusive trip to the TBS semi-finals the Rebels would need to win at the Manalapan grass pitch.
In Saturday’s quarter-final, it only took one goal to claim victory and it was Howell who did. Sophomore Ashley Smith hit a cross from junior Leila Oshiro midway through the first half for the only goal of the game and the Rebels closed out a 1-0 win over the Braves.
Howell will face another upstart and former 2022 Team of the Week Point Pleasant Boro in Wednesday’s TBS quarterfinal at Memorial Field in Neptune, with the Rebels looking to add a first-ever trip to the TBS Finals to their list of accomplishments. in 2022.
2022 Team of the Week Winners
Week 1: Point Pleasant Boro
Week 2: brick memorial
Week 3: Central
Week 4: Holmdel
Week 5: South Toms River