This morning, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) won its 18th straight state championship, extending its own national record for field hockey state championships.
And like just about everything this year, the Vikings did not make it easy on themselves. After some dominating performances in the state tournament, they had to fight off a determined Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) team by a score of 2-1. It was the 13th year in a row that Eastern has beaten B-R in the state championship game.
This year’s Eastern team is one which has combined its usual free-flowing and attacking offense with sometimes frustrating segments of play. The Vikings, for example, had its first two-game losing streak in the last 20 years when it dropped games against Louisville Sacred Heart (Ky.) and Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.).
But credit head coach Danyle Heilig, her staff, and players from rising above any doubts that weekend could have put in their collective psyche, and hoisting the NJSIAA trophy this morning in Bordentown.
By the end of today, we’ll know where the Eastern will stand in the seedings for the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, which are this year being done by winning percentage. The winner of North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.) and Rumson-Fair Haven (N.J.) is guaranteed the top seed because the winner will be 23-1 on the season.
Eastern, with a record of 22-2, is likely to wind up with the winner of the non-public champion — either two-loss Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) or three-loss Pennsauken Bishop Eustace (N.J.) — in the T of C semifinal round. That’s because Ocean City (N.J.) has three losses, Washington Warren Hills (N.J.) and Madison (N.J.) Borough have four losses and Haddonfield (N.J.) Memorial has five losses.
That could put the single best game of the Tournament of Champions in the semifinal round.