Southern Regional Field Hockey Team Dominates But Doesn’t Score Against Jackson Memorial

Oct 03, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Southern's Jessica Caiazzo moves the ball toward midfield during the Rams' 1-0 loss to Jackson Memorial on Oct. 1.

Some days, goals are just hard to come by. The Southern Regional field hockey team found that out on Monday, Oct. 1. Despite 21 shots on opposing goaltender Mildred Trembley, the Rams couldn’t manage to slip one into the cage, and Jackson Memorial went home with a 1-0 victory. The loss was Southern’s first of the season.

“These things happen ... absolutely,” said head coach Jenna Lombardo, whose Rams are 9-1 and still remain in first place in the Shore Conference Class A South division, despite the loss. “Their goaltender made a lot of good saves, and we had plenty of chances. We had a goal called back and weren’t able to convert on our corners. Today was just not our day.”

After the Jaguars held possession for the first couple of minutes – managing one of its two shots on goal early on – the Rams dominated play for 90 percent of the game, tallying 21 penalty corners and allowing Jackson possession within their circle only a handful of times.

During the first half, the Rams continually gained Memorial’s half of the field and applied pressure on the Jaguars’ defense. But the Jags did a solid job of clogging the middle and blocking shots or passes from the top of the circle. Still, Southern mustered 10 corners and peppered Trembley.

With just under six minutes left in the half, Jackson countered a Southern break from the left side and sent the ball into the right corner. Ultimately, the ball was played into the circle and sent across the front of the goal. It seemed as if the ball was going to harmlessly roll toward the opposite corner of the field, but Jackson’s Claudia DiSlaso sneaked in behind the defense to the far post and poked the ball into the cage for a one-goal lead going into halftime.

Southern continued to press forward and pressure the defense during the second half, but the Jaguars were stalwart, bending but never breaking, and Trembley was stellar, coming out to challenge most attempts within 7 yards of the goal mouth. And when Trembley was caught out of position, the Jaguars caught a few breaks.

About two minutes into the half, the ball found the stick of Southern forward Ruby Ramales just a few yards from the left post and an open cage, as Trembley was scrambling. A defender managed to steer aside Ramales’ shot.

About 10 minutes into the half, a sweet, sweeping backhanded shot from Maitland Demand, about 12 yards from goal, found the lower right corner but was disallowed – the official ruled the ball lifted too high off the ground, which is considered a dangerous ball.

A few minutes later, Demand worked the ball through the left side of the circle and delivered a short pass to Emily Raylman along the goal line. Raylman sent a pass across the front to Ramales on the opposite post, but Ramales couldn’t connect with the ball, and a defender cleared it aside.

The Rams kept pouring on the offense, drawing 11 corners in the second half, but Trembley thwarted them. Eventually, time ran out on the Rams’ nine-game winning streak to start the season. Prior to the contest, Southern had shut out all but one A South opponent in eight divisional games – including a 2-0 win over Memorial on Sept. 22 – and given up only five goals.

“We’ve been playing phenomenal hockey,” Lombardo said. “I can’t be mad. Everybody has given me 110 percent every game. Every game has been a joint effort. I can never say we lost today because of a lack of trying. None of our girls are at fault; we just didn’t score today.”

On Sept. 29 that wasn’t the case, as Southern buried Central Regional, 7-0. Demand scored three goals and gave out a pair of assists, while Erika Barbera buried two goals, Raylman scored once and gave away two assists, and Emma Wilhelm added a goal and an assist. Alexis Maul also had an assist.

In a 3-0 win over Toms River South on Sept. 26, Demand scored and assisted on Barbera and Wilhelm goals. Raylman assisted on Demand’s goal. On Sept. 24, the Rams gave up half their goals allowed for the season during a 7-3 victory that wasn’t in doubt, considering Southern’s 5-0, halftime lead. Demand scored the hat trick, while Barbera added two goals, and Emma Desiderio and Veronica Ruoff each scored once.

At 8-1 in A South, the Rams lead the division ahead of Jackson Memorial, which is 6-1-1, and Toms River North, which is 5-1-1. If Southern wins its next four divisional contests – against Toms River East, Brick, Central and Toms River North, all of which were shut out by the Rams in September – it would clinch at least a tie for the division title.

“It’s all good,” Lombardo said. “Being undefeated is a lot of pressure, especially as you get closer to the Shore Conference Tournament. And even if we’re not undefeated in the division, at least we’re still in first place. Our girls will bounce back. Now they’ll be more hungry as the regular season winds down and we get into tournament play.”

— David Biggy

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