"They wanted to bring their 'A' game," Eastern coach Danyle Heilig said of her players.
Eastern prides itself not only on winning but also on playing its best in the biggest games.
The Vikings felt as if they didn't do that in a 3-0 win over Bridgewater-Raritan in Saturday's Group 4 state final. They were determined to change things against Shore (23-1-1).
"We had kind of a flat game on Saturday," Cuneo said. "I let myself get a little frustrated because I was being face-guarded and I let it bother me.
"We knew every team we would play [in the T of C] would be a great team. We wanted to win big."
The Vikings were open for business. Cuneo's scoring was a big factor, but Heilig said it was an "overall team victory" and praised the play of young athletes such as sophomore Maddie Morano as well as freshmen Alexis Pettisani, Mackenzie Keegan, and Cassie Kincaid, the Vikings' goalie.
Cuneo extended her national records for goals in a season (95) and in a career (232). She will have a chance to reach 100 goals for the season in Friday's finale.
"I've thought, 'How cool would that be?' " Cuneo said of scoring 100 goals in a season. "But it's nothing that I'm focused on. The only thing I care about is that we win the game."
Eastern 5 4 – 9
Shore 0 1 – 1
Goals: E-Austyn Cuneo 6, Jade Dixon, Mackenzie Keegan, Karlee Spirit; S-Carol Middough.
Saves: E-Cassie Kincaid 5; S-Sarah Dwyer 14.