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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Rivals clash in CAL playoffs

Dan Russoman/THG. Hammonton’s Chloe Comunale (3) tries to move the ball past St. Joseph defender Samantha Butter (13).

HAMMONTON—Playing rival St. Joseph Academy for the third time this season, Hammonton High School’s field hockey team advanced to the Cape Atlantic League (CAL) championship game, edging the Wildcats 2-1 in a semifinal matchup on Oct. 20.

Kiley Kozlowski’s third-quarter goal was the difference in the game, as the Blue Devils defeated the Wildcats for the third time this season.

“We decided to play some Hammonton hockey in the second half and it helped us out a little bit,” Hammonton coach Kristen Silvesti said.

The Blue Devils appeared flat early in the game and allowed St. Joe to control the action and generate some scoring chances.

Hammonton goalie Angelina Catania was able to keep St. Joseph off the scoreboard, but Silvesti and the Blue Devils coaching staff urged their team to be more aggressive.

“We had our [homecoming] pep rally this afternoon inside and I think that sucked some of the energy out of us to start the game. We didn’t warm up well and I kind of anticipated a slow start,” Silvesti said.

The first quarter ended without either team scoring, but early in the second quarter, Gracie Donio was awarded a penalty stroke that she slammed at St. Joseph goalie Katie Canova. Canova was able to deflect the shot, but after deflecting to the ground, the ball dribbled across the goal line to give Hammonton a 1-0 lead.

Hammonton had grabbed some momentum, but St. Joseph continued to force the action, and with 4:56 remaining in the first half, a scramble in front of the Hammonton cage ended with Jalia Cooper’s goal that tied the game 1-1.

“We were pretty confident that we could use our speed to put some pressure on them. It’s the third time we’ve played them [Hammonton], so we kind of know their game and how they play. We wanted to attack and we came close [to winning],” St. Joseph coach Corrine Etter-Veight said.

With the game knotted at 1-1, St. Joe kept applying pressure in the second half, but Hammonton was able to make some adjustments and grabbed control when Kozlowksi scored with 5:46 left in the third quarter.

“That first half, we were scrambling. They [St. Joseph] came in confident and they played hard. We’re familiar with them and their tendencies but even though we kind of knew how they would attack us, we had some trouble,” Silvesti said.

Both teams had opportunities to score but neither was able to add a goal as Hammonton hung on to win 2-1 and advance to this week’s finals.

“Tough game, a hard-fought game,” Silvesti said.

Cooper agreed.

“We wanted this one because they [Hammonton] beat us twice. We played hard, but came up a little short. They’re a good team,” Cooper said.

The victory sent Hammonton into the CAL finals against Ocean City on Oct. 24. That game ended too late for this edition. The game was a rematch of last year’s championship game, won by Ocean City 4-2.


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