BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer Sometimes, being a champion is not all about how you good you can be. Sometimes, it’s more about whether you can be good enough when you’re not at your best. The Red Bank Catholic girls soccer team was good enough in the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament (SCT), posting a hardfought 1-0 win over a pesky Holmdel team, before coming out firing on all cylinders in the final against Jackson, and cruising to a 3-1 win and their second consecutive SCT title. For the undefeated and top-ranked Caseys, this was a well-earned championship, though it was also a revealing one. Holmdel likely did the Caseys a favor by playing them so tough for the third time this year. After scoring a pair of onegoal wins (3-2 and 2-1) over Holmdel during the regular season, RBC had to know that despite being seeded 13th in the SCT, the Hornets were not going to go quietly in their semifinal match-up on Oct. 28. However, whether they expected it or not, the Caseys were not matching Holmdel’s level of play early on. The Hornets (11-6-1) had the better of the play in the first half, but were unable to capitalize with a lead. They came close in the ninth minute, but an Angela Pento shot on a direct kick from about 30 yards out went wide left. The teams entered the break deadlocked at 0-0, before RBC began to assert itself in the second half. The Caseys finally broke the tie in the second half. Devin Griffin notched the game winner in the 45th minute, off an assist from Christina Stern. After Stern dropped a soft pass into the heart of the 18-yard box, Griffin beat her defender to the spot, corralled the ball, and blasted a shot inside the right post for her fifth (and biggest) goal of the season. Following the win over Holmdel, the Caseys set their sights on a second straight title, knowing full well that they would need to come out firing against a third-seeded Jackson team that featured one of the most explosive players in the state in Dana Costello. They also knew that they would need to play without starting right back Elle Mahon, who suffered torn knee cartilage in the win over Holmdel. On Saturday night, RBC left little doubt that they had learned from their slow start against Holmdel and were up for the challenge of facing Jackson. The Caseys got three first-half goals en route to a 3-1 win over the Jaguars, cruising to the title in what head coach Ken Santos called “the best 80 minutes we’ve put together.” Following the Holmdel game, Santos spent the next couple of days reminding his team that if they put together a full game against Jackson, they would be celebrating come Saturday night. And the Caseys responded, jumping out to a 1-0 lead at 7:13 when Noelle Arcomano floated the ball into the corner of the net from the right side. Jackson goalie Sydney Lavan seemed to have a beat on the shot, but once the wind got a hold of the ball, sailed just under the crossbar. Danielle Colaprico then notched the game-winner in the 27th minute, off a nice setup from Griffin and Annie Gray. Jackson, meanwhile, had a goal disallowed due to an offside call earlier in the half, struggled to get anything going, getting outshot 13-1 in the first half. With sophomore Bri Reed stepping in to shadow Costello, RBC held the prolific scorer in check. Jackson did manage to get within one, scoring in the 34th minute, but RBC then padded the lead just three minutes later, when Kelly Dolan scored on a rebound of a Colaprico shot. As it turned out, the Caseys didn’t need that goal, as they held the Jaguars in check the rest of the way to secure the title. RBC will now prepare for the NJSIAA Non-Public South A tournament, which is scheduled to begin on this week. Among the other local teams that will be in action this week in the state tournament are the Ocean, Red Bank and Rumson-Fair Haven girls soccer team. Ocean (12-3-2), the Class B North champions, and Red Bank (9-6-1) both qualified for the Central Jersey Group III tournament, while RFH (12-5-0) the Class B Central public school champs, will vie for the CJ Group II title. On the boy’s side of play, Shore Regional (12-5-2) will be chasing a CJ Group II title, along with their Class B Central rivals from RFH (10-6-1). Monmouth Regional (10- 8) also qualified for the state tournament, and will open play in the CJ Group III tournament this week.