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Archive for September 13, 2018

Sept. 13, 2018 — The Thursday Takeaway, part 1

What: No. 2 Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) vs. Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.)

Where and when: McAleer Stadium, Voorhees, N.J., 12 noon Saturday

Records (as of the start of play Sept 13): Oak Knoll 4-0, Eastern 4-0.

Key early wins: Oak Knoll: defeated Rumson-Fair Haven 6-0; Eastern: defeated Madison Boro 9-0

Key players: Oak Knoll: Bridget Murphy (jr., f), Annabelle Brodeur (jr., m), Emily Antunes (jr., d), Keely Comizio (so., d). Eastern: Kara Heck (jr., f), Amanda Middleman (jr., f), Madison Guyer (sr., d), Sydney Woolston (sr., d), Kyleigh Heck (fr., f)

The skinny: Weather permitting, this will be the fourth year in a row that the two teams have crossed swords in the regular season. This is, I think, one of the few pairings of field hockey teams not in the same division or conference that can be truly called a “rivalry.” The teams have met nine times since 2007 with Eastern holding a 6-2-1 lead in the series.

The teams have met each other for the Tournament of Champions on five occasions, including last year’s thrilling overtime win for the Royals on the Kean University turf.

But the first meeting, the Tournament of Champions semifinal in 2007, was a particularly momentous loss for the Vikings. At the time, Eastern had not lost to an in-state team in 208 matches. But the skilled Oak Knoll forward Michelle Cesan changed all that with her overtime goal, and showed that the Eastern machine wasn’t completely invincible.

The two teams could not be more different: Oak Knoll is a small private school in the northern half of New Jersey, Eastern is a large public school in the southern half of the state. Eastern is known for its offense, particularly on penalty corners. Oak Knoll is known for its defense, particularly on penalty corners.

What they do have, however, are tremendous coaches. Ali Good and Danyle Heilig are as good as it gets when it comes to motivation, training, coaching up, and tactics.

Should be another classic on Saturday.