Pinelands Loses to Lacey in Field HockeyBut Team Still in B South Championship Race
The Pinelands Regional High School field hockey team had a chance to move to the top of the Shore Conference B South standings on Monday afternoon.
But after suffering a 1-0 loss to the visiting Lacey Lions the Wildcats will now need a little help to scratch and claw their way to a second straight B South title.
The defeat dropped the Wildcats to 6-3 for the season and, more importantly, 5-2 in divisional play. They’ll now have to pass two teams – Jackson Liberty (7-1; 5-1 in B South) and Point Pleasant Boro (7-2-1; 5-1-1) to once again wear a crown.
Lacey (4-3-1; 3-2-1) came out strong, and most of the action in the first half took place on the Pinelands end of the field. With 6:50 left in the period it looked as if the Lions had taken a 1-0 lead, but their goal was waved off – the shot had come from outside the striking circle. Then, with just 1:15 left in the half, Lacey’s Marissa Ilaria’s smooth stick work produced a breakaway. Pinelands goalkeeper Julia Kline came out of the net to meet her and smothered one of the few shots taken in the first period.
The second half was a mirror image of the first, with the Wildcats holding a huge advantage in time of possession with Rachel Papernick and Brianna Suralik leading charges deep into the Lacey zone, often advancing the ball by dribble or pass to within a few feet of the goal. But the Lacey defenders stiffened when it counted, keeping the ’Cats from getting off clean shots from in close – winning goaltender Mackenzie Wyman only had to make one save to record the shutout.
Lacey’s goal, scored by Brielle Gilanyi and assisted by Abigayle Sinibaldi, came at the 11:28 mark, the result of a penalty corner.
Pinelands had its best scoring opportunity with 7:18 left in regulation. A shot got past Wyman but trickled slowly to the right of the goal cage, missing by just a foot.
It soon started pouring, making Pinelands’ comeback attempt even more difficult. The Wildcats kept the pressure on but, as had been the case all of the second half, couldn’t get a clean shot on goal.
The loss doesn’t mean the Pinelands goal of repeating as B South champs (last year they shared the title Jackson Liberty) is dead. The Wildcats could move past Point Pleasant Boro this Friday when they host the Panthers in a game set to start at 4 p.m. Pinelands beat Point Pleasant Boro, 3-2, in an away game on Sept. 24.
Point Pleasant Boro could then help the Pinelands cause when it visits Jackson Liberty on Oct. 17. The Panthers shut out the Lions, 1-0, on Sept. 27 and Pinelands coach Liz Law and her crew sure would like to see a similar result when the two teams meet again.
— Rick Mellerup