RED BANK – It took Haddonfield 11 seconds to take the lead in Monday's state tournament game against Red Bank Catholic, and the Bulldawgs never had any intention of giving it up.
After traveling an hour north to face fourth-seeded Red Bank Catholic, fifth-seeded Haddonfield put its depth and scoring ability on display in a 13-8 win in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA/Investors Bank South Jersey, Group 2 state tournament.
Fueled by six goals from Katie Pileggi, Haddonfield advanced to the semifinals where it will face top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven, No. 7 in the NJ.com Top 20, on Thursday.
"That's what we kind of said, let's play the game at our pace," Haddonfield coach Jessica Blake said about playing ahead the entire game. "We wanted to come out, we wanted to let them know that we were here to play. That was key and they didn't let up. That was really big for us."
Jaimie McCormick won the opening draw and scored 11 seconds into the game to give Haddonfield the quick lead that it never relinquished.
The Bulldawgs took a two goal lead into halftime at 5-3 but found the back of the net eight times in the second half to nullify any thoughts of a rally from Red Bank Catholic.
"I think that it shows that we really do have heart," Pileggi said. "They have really great skills and definitely pushed us to our limit. We came out, we wanted to win from the beginning, and we kept that momentum."Seven different players found the scoresheet for Haddonfield, which had 20 goals in a first-round victory over Somerville on May 17 and has developed a reputation as one of the best scoring teams in the state. Suzie Clark
and Gabi Connor
each scored twice for Haddonfield, while Ashley Campo
contributed with one goal and two assists and Katarina Ostbye
also scored once. Meghan Smart
dished out two assists. McCormick, who has been one of the leaders for Haddonfield all season, went down with an ankle injury midway through the first half. The Bulldawgs rallied around her, though, and never skipped a beat on their way to the road victory. "When Jaimie went down and got hurt, that frightened a couple of people, but they just came together," Blake said. "We have seven great shooters out there. It was good that they were able to pull together. They were confident and they played that way."
In the second half, Red Bank Catholic made a bid for a comeback when Olivia Farrington
scored her second of three goals with 16:26 left to cut Haddonfield's lead to three goals at 7-4. But Haddonfield struck right back as Ostbye and Connor scored 43 seconds apart to take a 9-5 lead with just over 14 minutes remaining.
"That's a thing we've had to work on throughout the whole season, and this is the time to really show it," Pileggi said of closing out games. "We worked on it day after day and hours of practice and we really showed it today."
Farrington's three goals led Red Bank Catholic, which finished off the 2016 season with a 16-5 record. Mackenzie Boyle scored twice and Cameron Lynch had one goal and one assist in the loss. Erika Recanzone and Lizzy Small each scored once, but the Caseys were never to find an offensive flow to keep pace with Haddonfield.
Brian Deakyne may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrianDeakyne. Like NJ.com High School Sports on Facebook.