HADDONFIELD – The thought racing through Hailey Gutowski’s mind couldn’t have been more simple.
“Get any body part on the ball I could,” the senior said. “I mean, we practice (set pieces) every day. But this one was different. We were just so determined to get this win that I’m sure the same thought was in everybody’s mind.”
Gutowski headed home the game winner with 3:55 left in the first of two potential overtimes as Cinnaminson, ranked No.2 in the SJSD Top 10, beat No.3 Haddonfield 3-2 in the South Jersey Group 2 Final. The golden goal made up for a year of frustration felt by the second-seeded Pirates (19-1-2) who lost twice in 2016 to the top-seeded Bulldawgs (19-3-1) as Haddonfield won Group 2 on Cinnaminson’s field last season.
“This was really a great game,’ Haddonfield head coach Lori Quintavalle said. “I’m upset we lost but this was a great game. It is also a great thing for Group 2 to show how well we can play the game. Both teams are excellent teams and somebody had to come out a winner. This time it just wasn’t us.”
Cinnaminson advances to the state Group 2 semifinal against Wall (23-1-1) next Tuesday in a 5 p.m. start at Hopewell Valley.
Cinnaminson held a lead three different times and, after the first two, Haddonfield found a way to come back to tie the game 1-1 at the half and 2-2 at the end of regulation. In fact, up 2-1, Cinnaminson had a chance to put the game away but even with an empty net, the Pirates hit the post with 9:15 left and thoughts of dread slowly crept into the mind of coach Matt Digney.
“If things had gone in a different direction, that post would have haunted me for a while,” Digney said.
It certainly didn’t help when Maddie Bee, who scored in the first half to tie the game at 1-1, broke free down the left side and into the penalty area. Keeper Maddie Ogden came out and took Bee down hard to create a penalty kick. Bee stayed down for a bit, which led to the shot being taken by Nic Green, who put it in the net to tie the game.
“This game was so even” Digney said. “That was the right call. Bee got behind us again and Maddie came out and tried to make a play. It was the right decision. It happens.
“Before that we had gotten a little defensive and got them on a counter but we hit that post.”
To their credit, Cinnaminson didn’t wilt and, in overtime, got the opportunity of a lifetime.
“Anything in closer I’m not taking,” Ogden said. “But 40 yards out, it was me. I just wanted to give the girls in the area a chance at the ball.”
Ogden’s restart sailed into the area and Gutowski found herself the perfect spot on the field and the right body part in her head, as she got enough of the ball to put it over the Haddonfield keeper to end the game.
“I just happened to get my head on it,” Gutowski said. “Everybody on our team was determined to get to that ball it just came right to me. Maddie hit a perfect ball into the box.
“Last year they won the title on our field. We wanted that redemption. We wanted to do to them what they did to us last year.”
Pirates 3, Bulldawgs 2
1 2 OT F
Goals: Hailey Gutowski 2, Emma Karch, C; Maddie Bee, Nic Green, H. Saves:Maddie Ogden, C, 4; Maya Olimpio, H, 5.
Cinnamonso pair of Maddie Ogden and Hailey Gutowski with SJ Group 2 Trophy after a 3-2 win over Haddonfield in overtime.