• Dan Russoman

HHS, St. Joseph play to draw


THG/Dan Russoman. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. Hammonton’s Kiley Kozlowski (6) tries to move the ball past St. Joseph’s Elizabeth Dainton (23) during last week’s game.

HAMMONTON—In what could be a preview of this week’s Cape Atlantic League (CAL) championship game, Hammonton High School and St. Joseph Academy’s field hockey teams played to a scoreless draw last week.


The game featured two of the region’s top teams and was a tight, defensive battle throughout the 60 minutes of regulation and a 10-minute overtime period.


“Great game. Two teams that fought hard the whole day,” Hammonton coach Kristen Silvesti said.


Silvesti, who grew up in Hammonton and played for the Blue Devils, was coaching against rival St. Joe for the first time.


“[it’s] definitely frustrating. I grew up in the Hammonton system, so it’s an old-time rival. it’s tough. We may see them again next week, so that’s in my head, too,” Silvesti said.


The game was also the first taste of the rivalry for St. Joseph coach Corinne Veight, who played her high school hockey at Millville.


“It’s my first year here, so I don’t really get the whole rivalry thing,” Veight said.


“But I know it’s big. We came in and tried to play our game. They [Hammonton] are a really skilled team and they showed that today. We tried to play hard, too and I’m OK with the outcome,” she said.


Fans stretched the entire length of the field to watch the game, the first time the teams have met since 2021.


St. Joseph’s aggressive offense put pressure on Hammonton early in the game, but the Blue Devils defense was able to clear the ball and goalie Angelina Catania protected the cage well.


Hammonton began to assert itself in the second quarter, but despite the strong play, the Devils failed to convert. At one point in the third quarter, Hammonton had four-straight penalty corners and came away without a goal.


“We had some chance, but their defense made plays,” Silvesti said.


“We couldn’t finish. Had some chances, but didn’t make a shot. We controlled a lot of the game, even in the [overtime] and give them credit, they fought hard, too. They’re a very good team and they played well enough to beat us today,” she said.


Veight was impressed with her team’s defensive effort the entire game.


“We haven’t seen a lot of teams that good offensively this season, but when it came to crunch time, our girls made plays and kept them off the scoreboard,” Veight said.


With time running out in regulation, Hammonton had two shots deflected by St. Joseph goalie Bella Davis, sending the game to overtime.


Both teams had chances in the extra period, but were turned away as each defense made key stops.


Both coaches credited their defense for avoiding a loss.


“Our defense is one of our strong suits. They’ve held us together and finished games for us. They kept us in it today,” Silvesti said.


Veight also praised the defensive effort of her team.


“The goalies both played well. Lots of shots, defense was great, I’m proud of how we played,” Veight said.


While frustrated at a tie, each coach was happy with her team’s effort and both enjoyed the close game.


“I think with the rivalry, it’s tough not to win, but both teams played well and it was a great game,” SIlvesti said.


Veight admitted the game showed some of her team’s weaknesses but was also happy to walk away with a draw.


“Now we know what we need to work on and what to fix in case we see them again. It showed us where some of our weaknesses are and where we need to get better. It was fun playing on turf against a tough team,” Veight said.


Both teams were high seeds in the CAL tournament and played in the semifinals earlier this week. If each wins its semifinal game, the rivals would meet on October 27 in the league’s championship game.