By Anthony Caruso III
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 7/8/18
TABERNACLE, N.J. – It was the perfect ending for Garden State Elite’s 2019 club team today.
Tori Accardo (Eastern Regional, Cincinnati commit) scored in sudden death overtime to give Garden State a 7-6 win over the York Invaders, 7-6, at Seneca High School in the Victory Events Girls’ Summer Slam 2019 championship game.
For many players on this Garden State Elite team, it was their final game together as a team.
“This team has been together for five or six years,” Garden State Elite head coach Liz Cook said. “They have been playing together forever, and they really work well together.
“It’s good that a lot of our players come from the same high school (eight players attend Notre Dame-NJ or Eastern Regional) because they work so well together. They gel beautifully. This team is really good at sharing the ball and they know each other tendencies.”
Garden State Elite -which had an extra man to open the overtime – won the draw control and dished it to Accardo who converted quickly.
“At halftime, our coaches gave us a big speech,” Accardo said. “We got our energy even though this was our sixth game this weekend and we were all very tired. We dug deep for it and got it done. Myself and another girl on our team know their goalie, so we’re definitely familiar with her. We knew what she was going to do in this game.”
In the morning, these two teams also played each other. However, the York Invaders won that meeting 7-5, and finished 4-0 in pool play. Garden State was 2-2 in pool play.
“We knew we had to shoot around her [in the championship game],” Cook said of the Invaders goalie. “We knew she was going to protect high so we had to shoot very low on her.
“That’s exactly what Tori did. We knew she had the hot hand, so after we met for halftime, we told the team to get the ball into Tori’s hands. That’s exactly what happened after we got the draw. It couldn’t have worked out any better.
“We also knew that we had a player advantage at least for the first two minutes in overtime, because their player received the yellow card before the end of regulation. We knew we wanted to win the draw, then go down and take a really smart shot. We had two minutes on our side, but if Tori was able to get the ball, she was told to go to the goal. It was right out of the script that we had talked about.”
York led 4-2 at halftime. There was a bit of confusion on the Garden State Elite sidelines, as they thought the game was over instead of playing an extra stanza.
“We thought it was a 25-minute game,” Cook said. “We thought we had actually lost. So, when we found out at halftime that there was another half, we got more energy from halftime, as we believed that we could do it. I asked them, ‘Do we believe that we can do it?’ We all gathered ourselves and looked at the new half as 0-0. Once the new half started, we went after it. This is a really short field, so it threw us off, as it’s different for us.”
Madi Tare (Trinity) gave the Invaders the 1-0 lead, before Accardo tied the game for Garden State Elite. York then scored the next three goals- two by Amanda Willigerod (Cumberland Valley) and one by Baylee West (Hershey). Danielle Losier (Notre Dame-NJ) scored for Garden State Elite before halftime.
Accardo began the scoring in the second half, before Madison Cowdin (Eastern), Losier, and Lauren Johns (Bishop Eustace) scored. York tied the game at 6-6 with back-to-back goals, as West and Tare scored.