Today, the field hockey teams from West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.) and Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.) meet at So Sweet A Cat Field at Monmouth University to contest the final of the Shore Conference Tournament.
It’s the last of ten in-season knockout tournaments in New Jersey which help squads prepare for the state tournament which began last week. The eight county and two conference tournaments help coaching staffs with tactics and help players get extra game situations in an elimination scenario.
Let’s go through what’s happened thus far:
Union County Tournament: Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) scored the first three goals in a 3-2 win over Summit Kent Place (N.J.) in what wound up being a town derby match. Though Oak Knoll managed to get scoring from its star players Ali McCarthy and Gabby Andretta, the Royals got a goal from Angela Kenney, her first of the season. Kent Place mounted a second-half comeback but could not prevent Oak Knoll from winning its sixth straight UCT championship.
Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament: The last time Flemington Hunterdon Central (N.J.) won a county championship was 2003, and this championship was known as the Hunterdon-Warren Tournament. Central, thanks to a 59th-minute goal from Nikki Freeman, beat Washington Warren Hills (N.J.) 2-1. Warren Hills was looking to win its sixth championship since 2009, but the Blue Streaks were using the tournament to work on combinations to try to compensate for the loss of attacker Dani Profita.
Morris County Tournament: Morristown (N.J.) snapped an enormous drought, winning its first county tournament since 1991 with a 1-0 win over Chester West Morris Central (N.J.). The game-winner came from a multi-phase passing play off an 18th-minute penalty corner. The finish came from Callie Sundin, who only had a defender to beat once the pass play eliminated members of the Wolfpack’s corner defense unit.
Essex County Tournament: Since becoming head coach in 1997, Jill Cosse has piloted North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.) to 18 out of 20 championships on offer. The latest was a 6-1 defeat of Montclair (N.J.). Ellie Decker and Ashley Ianuzzi had two goals each for the Knights.
Bergen County Tournament: Ramsey (N.J.) won its third straight BCT with a 3-2 win over Allendale Northern Highlands (N.J.). Lexi Hawtin’s goal in the 36th minute was the difference; it was her second of the match.
Somerset County Tournament: For Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.), making the SCT final was a foregone conclusion. The Panthers have made the last 14 county championship finals, and made sure that its 15th appearance would be a successful one, winning 5-0 over Martinsville Pingry (N.J.). Rachel White had a first-half hat trick for Bridgewater-Raritan, virtually guaranteeing the team’s eighth straight county tournament win.
Passaic County Tournament: West Milford (N.J.) left it very late, but managed to win its first PCT in five years with a 1-0 double-overtime win over Pompton Lakes. The game-winner came courtesy of Danielle Dellapi, who took a blocked midfield pass and went in on goal, beating a defender and the goalkeeper to end the match.
Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament: This one also went into double-overtime, and it took the inspirational figure of South Plainfield (N.J.), Caity Hughes, to take a through pass to score a 4-3 victory over Old Bridge (N.J.). It was the first GMC Tournament win for South Plainfield since 2013.
Mercer County Tournament: The Lawrenceville (N.J.) School won its 12th MCT since the school went co-ed in the fall of 1987 with a 3-0 win over Princeton (N.J.) Day School. Tess Maloney and Meg Hillman had first-half goals off penalty corners. Lawrenceville, the eighth seed, was the lowest seed to win one of New Jersey’s in-season championships.
UPDATE — Shore Conference Touranemnt: After full time at So Sweet A Cat Field, Rumson-Fair Haven won its third straight SCT title with a 1-0 win over Shore Regional. Elena Werner’s eighth-minute rebound goal was the difference. RFH is making its own dynastic stand at the top of the Shore Conference after Shore Regional’s decade-and-a-half reign at the top.