Kearny girls win county soccer championship with epic victory over Bayonne; boys fall to Prep

Photo by Jason Bernstein

Kearny soccer teams experienced both ecstasy of victory and the pain of defeat during Thursday night’s Hudson County Soccer Tournament championships at Red Bull Arena with no shortage of drama in between.

The Kearny girls’ reign on top of Hudson County continued on, but with an unprecedented level of stress as 100 minutes of play were not enough to determine a winner between the Kardinals and Bayonne nor were the initial five rounds of penalty kicks.

But in the seventh round of PK’s Kearny freshman Makayla David scored on a shot inside the left post. Then, keeper Aracely Vasquez made a diving save on the PK attempt by the Bees’ Riley Williams to give Kearny its 14th-straight HCT title, thanks to a 5-4 margin in PKs.

The teams were tied 1-1 after regulation and a pair of 10-minute overtimes.

Melissa Mota gave Kearny a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute when the freshman intercepted a bad clearance attempt and fired a shot under the crossbar for the goal. The celebration would be delayed as Bees freshman Kylie Galano evened the score in the 77th minute, leading to the first overtime contest in finals history.

While one championship streak stayed in tact, another came to an end just a couple hours later as the Kardinals’ quest for a third-straight Hudson County title ended with a 2-1 defeat to St. Peter’s Prep.

St. Peter’s Prep freshman Philip Sayouwoh scored the game-winning goal with just 2:21 remaining in the game. The goal, Sayouwoh’s second of the night, proved to be the difference in the hotly contested third matchup between the HCIAL American Division Co-Champions.

Trailing 1-0 for more than 40 minutes, Kearny’s Hans Zoller evened the score when launched a free kick 35-plus yards out in the 64th minute.

Please check out next week’s Observer for complete coverage from both championship matches.

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Jason Bernstein | Observer Sports Writer

Jason Bernstein joined The Observer as its sports writer in March 2022, following the retirement of Jim Hague. He has a wealth of sports-writing experience, including for NJ Advance Media (, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)