The three-year run of Cinnaminson High School’s girls soccer team has been an exciting one.
A mediocre 8-8 season in 2022 and a first-round sectional tournament exit stands out, but they are sandwiched between two sectional final appearances. The Pirates returned to the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 final this season after facing a daunting schedule of non-league and league opponents.
As in 2021, Cinnaminson’s playoff run ended in the final, this time in a 3-2 loss to Seneca High School. But spirits were up given the highs of this season and the success of the program.
“I knew that we had a young and talented group,” coach Brandon Bond said. “You never quite know how summer workouts are going to translate to game play, and the girls really did a great job coming together this year. We were able to fit the pieces of the puzzle together and they loved to compete.
“That was the greatest part.”
This year began as well as the Pirates could have hoped, a 6-0 start that led to a 10-2 overall first half of the season. As the regular season went on, tough results against a pair of Olympic Conference foes – Cherokee High and Cherry Hill West – presented some obstacles just before playoff time, but the Liberty Division champs weren’t ready for an early exit in late October.
“I think we were always supportive of each other, always doing team bonding whenever we can,” sophomore Shiloh Moore noted. “That also really helped us on the field … We all felt we could make it far if we worked our hardest.”
Cinnaminson was built for a deep run, and a deep run is exactly what the Pirates achieved, outscoring opponents 9-0 through their first three rounds before a date with the Golden Eagles in the sectional final.
“I didn’t picture us making it that far this season, making it to the sectional final,” junior Bailey Coston acknowledged. “I just thought it was going to be like how it was last year.”
With just one senior on this year’s roster, Cinnaminson relied on its juniors and sophomores to carry the load, none more than Coston and Moore. Moore finished second in the Burlington County Scholastic League with 27 goals, a total of 31 goal contributions. Coston had 32 goal contributions, with 19 goals and a team-leading 13 assists.
As they went, Cinnaminson went.
“Both Bailey and Shiloh had really great seasons … breakout seasons,” Bond said. “It was a lot of fun to coach them this season. They’re a very special tandem. They’ve played together growing up and know each other well … It’s all due to their hard work and dedication.”
Any time a season ends without players lofting hardware, it’s heartbreaking, but while the Pirates came up just short of their goal, all but one player are returning next season. They include both Coston and Moore, standout goalkeeper Norah Quinn and midfielder Eva Barbich.
Cinnaminson got a taste again for a sectional final, but with another year of experience next season, expectations for the Pirates will be as high as ever.
“We’re going to have the same team next year, so we’re going to have another chance to try and win,” Coston pointed out. “… I’m excited for next year. I hope we can get as far as we did this year, if not farther. I think we’ll be really successful.”