TOWNSHIP OF EGG HARBOR – Ocean City’s field hockey program doesn’t lose games very often, so when it does, the Red Raiders take it personally. In early September, the Raiders – who normally run their Atlantic Cape League schedule with relative ease, beating most of the league’s opponents by seven or eight goals – were stunned 3-2 in an overtime loss. v Egg Harbor Township.
And it wasn’t a fluke, as the Eagles scored 11 straight wins to start the season and rose to No. 1 in the U.S. CAL Conference standings.
Wednesday afternoon at Silver Eagle Stadium, Ocean City was determined to take revenge. It took more than the allotted 60 minutes – plus the loss of one of their best players to a third quarter injury – but the Raiders got what they came to EHT for. Senior Carly Hanin scored on a breakaway just over three minutes into extra time as Ocean City claimed a relentless 1-0 victory, giving the Eagles their first loss of the season in the season. process.
The victory also put Ocean City (10-1, 9-1 CAL American) within half a game of EHT (11-1, 10-1) in the race for a conference championship.
“Then we went into overtime, and they scored against us (in overtime) last time around, and honestly at that point it’s just who wants the most,” Hanin said. “We had nothing to lose and we were able to finish and put the ball in the net. It happened last year where I got the ball back in overtime and we just had to do it again and finish it. It was so relieving and exciting at the same time.
Hanin received a ball from Julia Neff and found herself in a one-on-one situation with EHT goalkeeper Rebecca Macchia. Macchia had no choice but to step out of her line and challenge, and that is exactly what she did, stopping Hanin’s initial shot. But Hanin was able to grab the rebound and push the ball deep into the cage, triggering a celebration on the Red Raiders bench.
“They play hard all the time. EHT will go through a brick wall; it’s not really our style, we try to chain the passes. It took a bit of adjustment but our kids never gave up and I’m really proud of my team for that, ”said Ocean City head coach Kelsey Burke. “It wasn’t our first overtime game. We were just smart, letting the ball do the work and knowing you can’t win overtime with a 1 on 1. Making sure we had movement off the ball, finding passes and connecting served us well.
The game was a defensive struggle throughout, as Ocean City didn’t even shoot on goal until the end of the third quarter, and EHT was also denied scoring opportunities, mainly due to a Herculean effort from center-back Camryn Flynn, a senior, and the rest of the back line.
“At first we were just trying to get the ball out from the back as quickly as possible and our defense did a great job today to get it out. Over the past couple of weeks we have been working really hard to fix things. since we last played them, and we came here with a lot of confidence. We knew we could do it, we just had to work together as a team, “Flynn said.” That loss to them (earlier in season) definitely lit a fire under us and made us work really hard. We knew they were undefeated so we wanted to come here and take the win.
Ocean City, the state’s No.14 team according to nj.com’s Top 20, stopped two turns at the end of the first quarter after EHT, state’s No.20, stopped a few moments earlier. That’s how the rest of the game went, with each team’s defense rising up to the challenge whenever the other threatened.
In the third quarter, Ocean City senior forward Racheli Levy-Smith, who entered the game with seven goals and nine assists, was punched in the face with an EHT pass and had to leave the game. Junior forward Tricia Nicoletti has arrived and the Red Raiders haven’t missed a beat.
“It was scary because I was right next to her when it happened,” Hanin said. “Racheli means a lot to our team and is an integral part of our team so it was hard to watch her fall but we had another girl who came and filled her place. She had big shoes to fill, but she did.
For both teams, Wednesday afternoon provided a glimpse of what the competition and atmosphere will be like following the playoffs in a few weeks. And Ocean City need to turn around and face Hammonton (11-2) on the road on Friday, so things won’t be easier for the Red Raiders.
“It’s the same thing that happened last year and it’s been (overtime) three games in a row against them,” Hanin said. “This time nobody scored all the time and it was like ping pong, just back and forth all the time. No one was substituted, so it was the same people the whole game. “
Coach Burke added, “It was a playoff atmosphere, there was a great crowd. I kept telling our kids to keep a cool head, not to get upset and worry about what is going on between the orange lines.
And after: Ocean City goes to Hammonton Friday at 4:00 p.m. EHT welcomes Williamstown Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: [email protected]; on Twitter @GDsullysays