By LESLEY GRAHAM
The Ocean City High School girls soccer team is advancing to the South Jersey Group 3 finals for the second time in three years after defeating Toms River South 5-0 on Monday afternoon.
The win upped the top-seeded Red Raiders’ record to 21-1-1, while the fifth-seeded Toms River South Indians ended their season at 10-6-1.
Leading all scorers for the Red Raiders was Faith Slimmer, who racked up two goals and an assist. Teammate Delaney Lappin added a goal and an assist, while Kamryn Chism and Paige Panico each chipped in a goal. Hope Slimmer and Carly Reighard both contributed an assist.
Red Raider goalkeeper Abbey Fenton recorded the shutout, the team’s 16th this season.
Ocean City Head Coach Kelly Halliday was impressed with her team’s depth in the victory.
“It was a total team effort out there today,” Halliday said. “Toms River South tried to shut down a few players, but we are lucky that we had the depth to step up and get the job done.”
The Red Raiders quickly got on the scoreboard with Lappin scoring on a header from Slimmer on a penalty corner in the first minute of play. That goal set the tone for the Red Raiders, who would spend the next 39 minutes of the first half assaulting the visiting Indians offensively.
Ocean City would add two more goals in the first half, taking a comfortable 3-0 lead into halftime.
As the second half got underway, Ocean City continued its forward press, limiting the Indians to only a handful of shots on goal. The Red Raiders’ staunch defense and solid goalkeeping kept Toms River South off the scoreboard. Ocean City would score twice more on the afternoon to secure the victory.
Ocean City will face the third-seeded Mainland Mustangs in the South Jersey Group 3 finals Thursday at Ocean City. Game time is still to be determined.
The Mustangs are a familiar foe for the Red Raiders. Both teams have faced off twice already this season, with Ocean City victorious both times by a combined score of 10-0. But that isn’t something that Halliday is taking lightly.
“Mainland is familiar, but it won’t make it easy. We are going to prepare ourselves so we play our best,” Halliday said.