Point Borough's Rampone Blocks a Shot from Japan, but Japan Wins World Cup in Penalty Kicks
Borough's Shore House packed with Rampone fans and fellow graduates
Japan narrowly beat the US Women's Soccer team in a World Cup penalty kick shootout 3-1 on Sunday afternoon, but not before Point Borough High School graduate Christie Rampone blocked a shot.
It's moments like that the crowd that was jammed into the Shore House on Route 88 will try to remember, even as they mourn the loss.
The US scored twice, Japan tied and then came the disastrous penalty kick shootout, that left Japan victorious and some of the US players literally in tears.
AOL reports: "The Japanese rallied twice to tie the U.S. and sent the Women's World Cup final into penalty kicks and then won 3-1 in the shootout.
Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath all missed penalties for the Americans, who squandered dozens of chances throughout the game and blew a lead just six minutes from winning their third World Cup title."
Coming so close and then losing by so little is especially a heart-breaker for the borough crowd, who were thrilled to see one of their own blocking and defending in the fight of her life.
Every time Rampone appeared on screen, the crowd would chant, "Christie, Christie!"
When she blocked a shot that was a breath from the net, the crowd went wild with the Christie chant. Horns blew, arms flailed, beer mugs were lifted high.
But right after that, Japan scored and the US women just couldn't make it back later in the penalty kick shootout.
"They lost? They lost?" was all Katie Barbieri and Dyan Heineck could say, before rushing out of the bar, distraught.
The two were among a group who had gone to high school and graduated with Rampone, who was then Christie Pearce.
Rampone doesn't know it yet, but because of her, high school alumni who hadn't seen each other in years came together on Sunday, just one more sign of how the borough has been rallying around her and the team.
When Japan won and rushed the field in jubilation, Robin Cook, who played field hockey and soccer with Rampone, just stared at the television screen and said, "They're still number one in our hearts. "
When asked to analyze how the US lost, Cook said, "The Japanese are great technicians. They have a very different style of play. They surround players, they tire out their opponents.
"But our girls played their hearts out. They gave it a great fight. It was a great game that was well-matched.
"Now Christie gets to go home and see her daughters and play with them," Cook said. "Sometimes you don't win on the field, but you win at home. She'll go home to her family and they'll be waiting for her with open arms."
Cook can relate. She has a two-year-old daughter and still lives with her family part-time in the borough.
Rampone said in a recent interview with Patch, just before she flew to Europe, that she usually brings at least one of her daughters, and often her whole family, with her when she travels. But this time, Rylie and Reece stayed home.
The Rampones have lived in Manasquan since 2008 and also have a condominium in Florida where Christie is based with Magic Jack, her domestic team.
Rampone has said she will play in the Olympics next year and then play only in the U.S. to be home more with her children.
Cook said she is already looking forward to a US Olympic win.
"Another gold medal!" she said.
Rampone was born in Florida, grew up in the borough, excelled in soccer, field hockey and basketball at Point Borough High School, graduated, and continued her high level of play in soccer at Monmouth University in Long Branch.
"From the moment you walk in the door, everyone at Monmouth knows who Christie is," said Frank Gullace, who owns and runs the Shore House (formerly the Westside Tavern) on Route 88 with his family. "With all the records she broke, everyone knew her."
Gullace, 27, played soccer for Monmouth from 2001 to 2006 and when he started on the team it was 3-13. When he was a senior, the team won the Northeast Conference championship.
He's had a soccer-watching party every time the US Women played in the World Cup.
He was as sad as everyone else.
"With a team like that, you have to score early," said Gullace, who lives in Brick. "The longer you left them hang around, the more they score. They should have won. It's unfortunate.
"When Christie blocked that shot with her foot, and if they had won after that, that would have been a good story!" Gullace said, shaking his head and walking away.