MEDFORD >> Senior Brooke Steel notched her team-leading eighth goal of the season in the first half to lead No. 3 seed Shawnee (9-2-1) in a shutout of visiting No. 6 Rancocas Valley (7-3-1), 1-0, in a NJSIAA South West D quarterfinal playoff game Nov. 18 here.
"I thought we played well," said Shawnee coach Drew Wagner. "We had to change our formation due to injuries and I thought we played the new formation very well. We controlled play and created several good scoring chances, while limiting Rancocas Valley's scoring chances."
Shawnee was ready for the challenge the Mount Holly school provided in the playoff contest.
"The challenge Rancocas Valley posed for us was their two very dangerous strikers," said Wagner. "We lost one of our best defenders (starting center back Kylie Kenig) to an ACL injury and had to move some players around. Our team defending was very good and we limited the two up front for RV to few chances."
Steel's game-winner came with about 18 minutes left in the first half.
"Aleesha Deshmukh jumped an RV pass and played the ball wide to Kenzie McCready, who sent a great diagonal ball to Brooke in the middle. Brooke hit a great shot off the left post and in," said Wagner.
Shawnee came into the game after a double overtime tie with Holy Cross Prep Academy. Before that, the Renegades were on a long layoff due to a COVID-19 quarantine.
"We played Holy Cross on Monday, which went to double OT, and I thought we played well after the layoff," said Wagner. "I was proud of our girls, it appeared as if they all took personal responsibility to stay fit and get touches on the ball during the layoff."
The Renegades, who also beat the Red Devils, 2-1, Oct. 31 at home, advanced to face No. 2 seed Washington Township (6-1) in the semifinal round Nov. 20.
Shawnee has won the last four contests with the Minutemaids, outscoring them 10-6 in the process.
"The key versus Washington Township is going to be trying to contain Amanda Attanasi," said Wagner. She can score and play make, so we will be focused on slowing her down. Offensively, we just need to finish our scoring chances. We create a lot of quality scoring chances, but have struggled to find the back of the net."
Goals: S-Brooke Steel (assist Mackenzie McCready); Saves: S-Ava Rieger 6, Anna D’Intino; RV-Samantha Poljevka 10.
Cherokee advances to face Eastern in semifinals
WILLIAMSTOWN >> Senior Arianna Sparrow’s eighth goal of the season lifted visiting No. 5 Cherokee (9-3-1) past No. 4 Williamstown (8-5-1), 1-0, in a NJSIAA South West D quarterfinal playoff game Nov. 18.
“Arianna hit a laser,” said Cherokee coach Megan Boland of the game’s only score – assisted by junior Chelsea Evans - in the 53rd minute. “It had no spin and went upper 90 side panel. No keeper could have saved it.”
Sophomore keeper Kailyn Roselli made three saves for her third shutout of the season.
Wednesday’s playoff game marked the fifth consecutive year the Chiefs were meeting the Tri-County League school.
“Williamstown plays hard,” said Boland. “Physical. We were rusty having not played in two weeks.”
Cherokee advanced to the semifinal round against No. 1 seed Eastern (13-0), which beat the Chiefs, 5-2, in the second game of the season Oct. 6 in Marlton.
“It’s going to take everything we’ve got and more (to beat Eastern),” said Boland. “We will have to contain Riley (Tiernan) and Sydney (Ritter) and try to get ourselves some opportunities.”
The Vikings have owned Cherokee as of late, outscoring them 24-6 and going 5-0 in the last five meetings between the Olympic Conference American Division rivals.
Goals: C-Adrianna Sparrow (53rd minute, assist Chelsea Evans); Saves: C-Kailyn Roselli 3; W-Lauren McKelvey 6.