HAMMONTON — The Lower Cape May Regional and St. Joseph Academy field hockey teams are two of the best in the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference. St. Joe was victorious the first time these teams met back in September.
But on Thursday, the Caper Tigers got the win on the road, handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season, 1-0. Lower goalie Mahogany Kelly made 12 saves for the shutout.
Lower Cape May improved to 12-2 on the season, St. Joseph fell to 12-1.
It only took eight minutes for the Tigers to get on the board as Maddie Schiffbauer tapped one in while being swarmed by defenders. Jessica Goodroe assisted on the play from a corner pass into the middle.
Lower Cape May continued to apply pressure early and often right after scoring their first goal. They had three shots on net in the first quarter and were constantly forcing turnovers.
“We knew coming into this game that they play with very low sticks,” said St Joe’s head coach Kassidy Wentzell about the Caper Tigers’ defensive style.
Lower’s Julia Gibson played an important role in the first half as she continuously pushed up field.
The Wildcats made efforts to bounce back in the second quarter, having multiple opportunities that could have tied the game, but they continued to be denied by Kelly.
Emiley Nelson was the biggest playmaker of the first half for the Wildcats.
St. Joseph’s came out of the half picking up right where they left off on the attacking end, but Kelly and the Lower defense stood their ground keeping the Wildcats out of the circle.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Caper Tigers seemed to be running out of gas, but they stood tall and held their lead for the rest of the game. Kelly made pivotal saves in the fourth, including a kick save clearance in the closing minutes to secure the victory.
Isabella Davis made nine saves for St. Joe’s.
“This team wanted this win and knew how important this game was. Our senior leadership was huge for us today,” said Lower Cape May Regional coach Anne Bracken. “St. Joe’s is a tough and talented team, but we knew what we had to do to walk out of here with a win today.”
“We’re going to bounce back from this loss. We needed a setback, and I think we will head in the right direction following today,” Wentzell said.
The Caper Tigers will next play at home at 4 p.m. Monday against Oakcrest. St. Joseph will travel to Linwood to play Mainland Regional at 10 a.m. Saturday.