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Late goal gives No. 7 Middle Township 1-1 tie with Millville

Late goal gives No. 7 Middle Township 1-1 tie with Millville


MILLVILLE — An exciting game between the Middle Township and Millville high school field hockey teams went back and forth Monday.

Both defenses stopped numerous chances.

Millville looked like a winner when Casey Etter scored in the first period, and the goal looked as if it would hold up.

But Middle Township’s Briar Lemma got her own rebound twice near the net in the final minute of regulation and finally scored the game-tying goal.

The game ended in a 1-1 tie, and it seemed fitting.

Both goalies, Millville’s Lily Mahabir and Middle Township’s Grace Thompson, made game-saving stops in a tense but scoreless overtime. Mahabir had six saves in the game, and Thompson made seven.

Middle (5-0-1) is ranked No. 7 in The Press Elite 11. Millville is 2-1-1. The Thunderbolts were upset earlier this season by Our Lady of Mercy Academy, a team Middle beat 4-0.

“We’ve made a really good start this year,” said Lemma, a 17-year-old senior from Cape May Court House. “We’re really appreciate that we can play, and we play every game like it’s the last one. We have fun and play the best we can.”

Millville was protecting a 1-0 lead with a minute left in regulation, but the ball went from left to right on a Middle corner, and Lemma’s second rebound shot tied the game.

“She (Mahabir) hit it back to me a couple times, and then she went to the ground, so I lifted it up over her,” Lemma said.

Etter had scored unassisted on a breakaway on the right side with 48 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 1-0 Millville.

The teams each had a big chance to win in the 10-minute overtime. Middle’s Hannah Urbaczewski was open on the right side with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left, but Mahabir made a big save.

“I was really anxious, but it was good to help the team,” said Mahabir, a 15-year-old sophomore from Millville who was playing in her first overtime.

Etter, Millville’s leading scorer, had one final chance to win it as she closed from the right with 15 seconds left in overtime, but Thompson made the save.

“I was kind of scared, but I got really focused, and it was up to me to stop it,” said Thompson, a 16-year-old junior from Dennis Township. “Our team is so good that a lot of games I don’t have to do anything.”

Millville’s Claudia McCarthy is in her 50th year as the head coach of Millville and previously announced this will be her final year.

“It’s still exciting, and I’m happy to be able to be able to make it to the 50th year,” said McCarthy, Etter’s grandmother. “We hope everyone stays healthy and we don’t have to shut down (due to COVID-19).

“We have five seniors, and six players are new to the varsity. “Lily Mahabir was a field player who had never played goalie before. The girl who was going to be our goalie moved out of state, so Lily took the role. We usually have about six scrimmages, but due to the late season we had one, and the other team didn’t get a shot on goal. She is doing well. Jalia Cooper is starting as a freshman, and many of the others have moved up from (junior varsity).”

Contact: 609-272-7210

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Staff Writer

I’ve been at The Press since January of 1983. I cover all sports in general, but mostly lifeguard racing, and high school field hockey, football, swimming, basketball, crew, baseball and softball.

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