PENNSAUKEN, N.J. — The mark of a championship team is sometimes the ability to get not only your leading scorer, but your second-leading scorer into the action. So, when Rialee Allen was asked to make the insertion pass for an Ocean City (N.J.) penalty corner in the 49th minute of an interconference match against Pennsauken Bishop Eustace (N.J.), she had confidence in the team’s second-leading scorer — Shannon O’Reilly, who had 20.
“She’s my best friend on the team,” said Allen, who had come into the game with 38 on the season. “I knew what she could do, so it was up to us to execute.”
And one perfectly-executed 1-Up corner later was the difference in Ocean City’s 3-1 win over the host Crusaders. It was a taut battle played in conditions fit for neither man, nor beast, nor cheaply made golf umbrellas. Rain and cold winds brought the “feels-like” temperatures to approximately what one might expect for the state finals and Tournament of Champions games, which will be held in three weeks.
“When you’re in conditions like that, it becomes much more of a mental game,” said Eustace head coach Danielle Senior. “We just didn’t play as well as we could have.”
Bishop Eustace stamped itself as a dark-horse favorite for state championship and T of C honors by taking Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) into overtime before losing 3-2. And just 10 days ago, the Crusaders beat a very good Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.) side 2-1.
Much of Eustace’s excellence comes from the play of Erin Quinn and Drew Pecora. Quinn had an absolutely breathtaking solo effort in the 46th minute when she eliminated a pair of players at the midfield stripe, stormed into the circle, and struck a shot sweetly into the corner.
But Ocean City, led mainly by Allen, had the answers. She pinged the ball off the post to open her account in the 11th minutes, then ended the Raiders’ output by feeding a deep cross to Grace Steele, who bundled the ball over the line. Ocean City bolsters its tournament resume, adding this win to an Oct. 1 win over Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.).
OCEAN CITY (17-2) 1 – 2 — 3
BISHOP EUSTACE (15-3) 0 – 1 — 1
OC: Rialee Allen, fg, 11th
BC: Erin Quinn, fg, 47th
OC: Shannon O’Reilly (Allen), pc, 49th
OC: Grace Steele (Allen), fg, 53rd
Shots — OC: 17; BE: 4. Saves — OC: Maddie Kahn 3; BE: Brenna Miller 14.
POSTGAME That’s all for now; good day and good hockey
POSTGAME The billed stars came out today, but there was one performance that bears mentioning. Let’s give a call out to Brenna Miller, the goalie for Bishop Eustace. She had 14 stops on the day, many of the very loud “no” variety. Miller, mind you, has to face the best shot attempts of Quinn, Pecora, and her teammates every day in practice
POSTGAME Well, this result doesn’t solve much when it comes to figuring out who is going to win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions. Think about it: Ocean City lost two days ago to Cherry Hill Camden Catholic (N.J.). Eustace beat Camden Catholic to open the season, and now today’s result means that each of these three have beaten each other. Go figure
FULL TIME The game ends with Ocean City winning 3-1
55:00 That goal took the air out of Eustace’s sails
52:14 OC GOAL Allen’ cross is bundled in by Grace Steele! Raiders lead 3-1
50:10 BE PC Pecora’s nubber is kicked aside
48:11 OC PC and GOAL Shannon O’Reilly pounds in the 1-up and Ocean City leads 2-1
46:12 TIMEOUT OCEAN CITY
46:12 BE GOAL Erin Quinn storms through the midfield on a 2-on-1, fakes down the goalie, and finds net! Game tied 1-1
42:00 Play continues in between the 25s but circle possession time is rare
30:45 OC PC Miller with a pair of saves!
30:00 The second half is under way
HALFTIME Only the Rialee Allen goal on the board here, and the teams are playing with the same pace and rhythm you might expect from a state final
HALFTIME The siren goes with Ocean City leading 1-0
26:30 BE PC Pecora clouts it wide!
25:00 OC PC Miller makes a good save
21:10 OC PC Allen’s 1-up is saved by Brenna Miller
20:45 OC PC Ball hits the flyer’s foot; will re-rack
20:00 Rain starts to fall here
19:20 BE PC Drew Pecora’s 1-up is saved
19:00 BE PC False start on Eustace; a player is sent back over the 50
18:10 BE PC The Crusaders go Brooklyn for this one but Allen sniffs it out and clears
16:15 Ocean City does a good job eliminating players 4-on-3, but the final pass is into coverage and no shot results
16:00 BE PC A three-way passing play misfires and Ocean City has a snowbird going the other way
13:10 TIMEOUT, EUSTACE
10:50 OC GOAL A speculative shot off Allen’s stick pings the post and goes over the line! Raiders lead 1-0
10:00 OC PC Insert goes off Alexis Paone’s foot
7:30 Rialee Allen crosses the ball from the left wing but nobody in a red shirt can get a stick on it
5:00 Play circulates in the midfield
0:50 BE PC Kerry Monaghan is tackled by Rialee Allen
0:00 The game is on
PREGAME Ocean City is wearing the red tops with black kilts; Bishop Eustace is in the white with black kilts
PREGAME The teams are warming up under heavy overcast, temperatures around 50 degrees. Scattered showers and wind will permeate the day’s play
PREGAME This game is significant in the unpredictable nature of the New Jersey field hockey season thus far. There is no clear favorite for the Tournament of Champions, and these two sides could very well meet again in four weeks as state titlists in their respective classes
PREGAME Eustace is led by Lauren Quinn (35 goals) and Drew Pechora (30). Ocean City’s inspirational figures are Rialee Allen (38 goals) and Shannon O’Reilly (20)
PREGAME Bishop Eustace is 15-2 this season; Ocean City is 16-2
PREGAME Hello, and welcome to Queen of Apostles Field for this morning’s interconference match between Ocean City (N.J.) and Pennsauken Bishop Eustace (N.J.) from 10:45 a.m. Eastern time