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Archive for November 10, 2022

Nov. 10, 2022 — One day, so many storylines

Today, in New Jersey, ten sectional finals will be contested. And because the North 1 and North 2 sections are combined, as well as the former Central and South sections, these ten games are, in essence, the state semifinal matches leading to a Super Saturday quintupleheader in Bordentown in two days’ time.

Each of these 10 games has their own storylines, their own stories, their own heroes.

Here’s a few:

Group 2 South: Point Pleasant (N.J.) Boro is a school which made its mark in women’s sports being the alma mater of Christie (Pearce) Rampone, former captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. So, why is this soccer player being referenced in a field hockey context? When she was in high school, the Shore Conference was the only holdout for playing its girls’ soccer in the spring. Rampone was an all-Shore player in soccer, field hockey, and basketball.

Throughout all that, however, Point Pleasant Boro has never won a sectional championship That could change today, but it would have to come against the longest-serving scholastic field hockey team in America, as Haddonfield (N.J.) Memorial is in its 113th season.

Non-Public South: Only a couple of years ago, Hammonton St. Joseph’s (N.J.) was on the verge of closing during the Coronavirus pandemic. But the school was rechartered as a school independent from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden, and the field hockey team has made it one step away from a state final.

The Wildcats, however, have to deal with U.S. women’s national team member Olivia Bent-Cole and a Cherry Hill Camden Catholic (N.J.) team which is in good form, and the No. 4 team in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10.

Non-Public South: It’s a Summit derby match between Oak Knoll and Kent Place. In two earlier matches, Oak Knoll beat Kent Place by some heavy margins. But the Jim Davis Third Law of Field Hockey holds that the third match of a season between two sides is difficult to win for the team that won the first two if it gets inside of their heads that they are superior before they step on the field.

Oak Knoll, which was one defensive penalty corner away from possibly upending Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) last year in the Tournament of Champions final, has had a Murderers Row of opponents, including Pottstown Hill School (Pa.), Emmaus (Pa.), and Woolwich Kingsway (N.J.). A sectional title would be well worth the effort.

Group 4 North: Just look at the seedings: Phillipsburg is the five seed, Hillsborough is the three seed. Each had a rich history in the game, but it was a long time coming for current success. It was 40 years ago when Hillsborough and Montville played a draw for the state championship, Hillsborough has had some good teams and coaches since, but have not made a state title game since.

Phillipsburg has been runner-up on a couple of occasions, including in 1998 when they lost to a pretty good team from Voorhees Eastern (N.J.). It was the first of their 22 straight state championships. Today’s game will heal a lot of wounds for the victors, surely.

Group 4 South: Woolwich Kingsway (N.J.) is a good and disciplined side, one which may be the best public-school team in the Garden State. They beat Eastern two rounds ago to end their nearly quarter-century reign over the large-school championship.

But standing in the way is Toms River (N.J.) North and their remarkable scorer Olivia Fraticelli. The Rutgers-bound senior has 89 goals on the season, which is far and away the leader in the country.

Group 1 South: Not so long ago, West Deptford (N.J.) did not have enough players to have a varsity team, and had to play a JV schedule. But the team has, by degrees, rebuilt to a point where they now stand one game away from winning its first state title since 1996. The opponent is Collingswood, which has multiple championships to its credit.