For the game’s first 51 minutes, the action was frantic.
A Cinnaminson player banged the crossbar on a free kick. Haddonfield players stormed up the sideline and created opportunities.
But the scoreboard remained untouched. The girls soccer teams from Haddonfield and Cinnaminson, two programs that have combined for 13 sectional championships since 2001, were deadlocked. It was hardly surprising, given the competitive games the Bulldawgs and Pirates have had almost annually each fall.
But then, just as you began setting aside time for overtime, a bolt of lightning blazed up the school building-side of Haddonfield’s pristine turf field. The lightning came in the form of Jordan Siok, a four-year letterwinner for Haddonfield.
Siok had the ball and a few steps on a defender up the left side. She used her speed and skill to do the rest.
When she got within 10 yards, Siok deposited the ball into the right side of the Cinnaminson goal to break a scoreless tie and tally what would hold up as the game-winning goal, too.
Haddonfield captured the South Jersey Group 2 championship with a 3-0 win over Cinnaminson.
“It feels so amazing,” Siok said. “I’ve been playing with these girls since I was in kindergarten. It just feels so amazing to win with this squad, it’s the best squad in the world.”
The team savored a chance to take photos with their new accessory: a sectional championship trophy.
“It felt so good,” senior Briana Parker said of holding onto the symbol of the program’s 12th sectional title in school history. “We’ve been working hard since August until now, so it feels great.”
Siok’s goal not only added a necessary fixture to the scoreboard but also got the Bulldawgs into a groove for the final 29 minutes of the game, too.
“We got our confidence, we got our legs a little bit,” Haddonfield coach Lori Quintavalle said. “Our play picked up. We weren’t on our heels much after that and for a while they had us on our heels.”
“It definitely felt like it took a little pressure of us for sure,” Parker said. “But we always say that we’ll never drop our guard. We gotta keep pushing.”
The goal was the 17th of the season for Siok, who will play at Catholic University next season. Five of her 17 goals have come during Haddonfield’s postseason run, which continues in the state semifinals against Central Jersey Group 2 champ Wall on Tuesday at Hopewell Valley.
“For a senior captain to be in that position, you knew she was going to finish that,” Quintavalle said. “It was the best opportunity for her to shine. And she’s such a hard worker. For her to get that finishing goal is just a credit to her hard work.”
Siok and Parker are two of 14 seniors on Haddonfield’s roster this season. Most of them have been with the program long enough to remember the Bulldawgs’ last sectional championship — it came during their freshman year.
But in the last two seasons, Haddonfield couldn’t get by Cinnaminson in the South Jersey Group 2 bracket. Last season, the Bulldawgs fell to the Pirates in the quarterfinals. Two years ago, in the sectional championship game.
Both of those losses stung a bit more since they took place on their home field.
“We weren’t going to let them come in and beat us again,” Siok said.
Despite Haddonfield’s determination and energy, the final result was still uncertain at halftime. Both teams jockeyed back and forth, trading possession. Neither team dictated the pace and the majority of action played out in the 30-or-so yards around midfield.
But when Haddonfield finally found the back of the net, the team smelled victory and did everything in their power to add to their newly-found lead and not rest on their one-goal advantage. Juniors Katie McCormick and Keegan Douglas added insurance goals to pad the Bulldawgs’ lead.
Even with a new piece of hardware for the school’s already crowded trophy case, Haddonfield’s girls soccer team isn’t ready to rest on its sectional title. The ‘Dawgs are already eyeing the opportunity of playing for the program’s first state championship in 10 years, which would take place a week from Saturday with a win over Wall next week.
“I think we can win it, all the way,” senior Rachel Bonnet said. “We’ve had a great run already. If we play the way we can play, I think we can win.”