Late goals lift Devils past Ocean City
OCEAN CITY—A year after posting one of the biggest wins in the history of its program, Hammonton High School’s field hockey team repeated the feat last week, stunning host Ocean City 2-1 in a key Cape Atlantic League American Division matchup.
“That was awesome. We decided to play the last quarter and we won a great game,” Hammonton coach Kristen Silvesti said.
Last season, Hammonton pulled out what was believed to be the program’s first-ever win against Ocean City, a perennial nemesis for the Blue Devils. The teams met three times last year, including in the CAL final, and the Red Raiders won two-of-three, including the championship game.
In last week’s contest, Hammonton was the more aggressive team early in the game, and narrowly missed on a few scoring chances, including a penalty corner that saw Ocean City goalie Taryn Dolka make a strong save before a Red Raider defender cleared the ball just short of the goal line.
“We had a chance on that corner, but their goalie made a nice save and then the girl swept it away when it got behind her (Dolka). That one hurt a little because it would have been nice to take the lead there,” Hammonton coach Kristen Silvesti said.
With 7:34 left in the second quarter, Ocean City’s Mia Pancoast gave the Red Raiders a 1-0 lead when she scored on a breakaway goal.
Midway through the third quarter, a shot by Gabrielle Childs from the top of the circle appeared to tie the game for Hammonton, but it was waived off by officials for being too high in the cage.
Hammonton continued to fight back in the fourth quarter and in the span of 40 seconds, turned the game in its favor.
With 12:48 to go in the game, Madison Gazzara grabbed the ball behind the Ocean City defense and sent a shot past Dolka to tie the game 1-1.
Forty seconds later, with 12:08 remaining, Gabriella Teti took a pass from Chloe Comunale and scored the go-ahead goal.
Hammonton’s defense held the rest of the way and goalie Angelina Catania made a few nice saves to secure the win.
“We wanted this one. Once we had the lead, there was no way they were beating us,” Catania said.
Last year’s win at Ocean City gave Hammonton a lot of confidence and the Blue Devils now feel they can compete with any team they play.
“I think before when we would play them, we felt they were an unbeatable team. But now, it’s fun hockey, it’s clean hockey. They [Ocean City] are aggressive, their stick work is phenomenal. It’s nice to come out and play a great game, because we don’t see that all the time,” Silvesti said.
The win started an important week for Hammonton that also saw them square off against division foes Egg Harbor Twp. and Millville.
“It’s insane actually. EHT on Thursday, Millville [Friday] but we have to tackle that. We’ll enjoy tonight and then it’s back to work,” Silvesti said after the Ocean City win.
Hosting EHT on September 21, Hammonton once again rallied late for a 3-1 win.
With the game tied 1-1 in the fourth quarter, Gazzara scored to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead and Kiley Kozlowski added her second goal of the game to seal the win.
Catania made five saves in goal.
Playing at Millville to end the week on September 22, Hammonton won 4-2. Gazzara and Emma Longo each scored twice in the win.
Earlier this week, Hammonton played at Holy Spirit, but that game ended too late for this edition. On September 27, the Blue Devils host Cedar Creek at 4 p.m.