By LESLEY GRAHAM
The Ocean City Red Raiders field hockey team battled to a 1-0 victory over the visiting Egg Harbor Township Eagles on Wednesday night under the lights at Carey Field.
The win improved Ocean City’s record to 5-2, while the Eagles dropped to 4-3 on the season.
The lone scorer for the evening was Junior Captain Tara McNally for the Red Raiders.
Under blustery conditions, the Red Raiders struggled to find the back of the net in a game where they were awarded 12 corners to the Eagles’ 2.
Ocean City Head Coach Kelsey Mitchell said in a post-game interview that the score wasn’t representative of the game in her book.
“I don’t think that the score portrays what the game was. We had 12 corners, they had two. One-nothing is disappointing in that it looks a lot closer than it was, but we played a good game,” Mitchell said.
With approximately half of the first half behind them, and the score still knotted at zero, the Red Raiders called a time out. Taking it one minute at a time, they stepped up their aggression and competitive spirit to keep battling the Eagles for scoring opportunities.
With under a minute to play, Ocean City was awarded a penalty corner. Tara McNally found the back of the net off a pass from Morgan DeCosta. It would prove to be the game winner.
Ocean City used technically proficient passing to move the ball up the field, utilizing the width of the turf as well as the speed of its players to keep Egg Harbor Township on the defensive.
The Eagles did not go down without a fight, though, playing hard until the final whistle. Both teams had a fire about them, playing tough one-on-one battles all over the field.
Solid play was contributed by Morgan Pizagno and Nya Gilchrist, whose hustle and heart made a difference throughout the entire game.
The Red Raiders will be back at practice Thursday preparing for their next showdown, an away game against Haddonfield on Saturday morning.
Ocean City scrimmaged Haddonfield in the preseason to a 1-1 draw, so Mitchell is prepared for another tough fight.
“It’s going to be a good game on Saturday,” she said. “Hopefully it shows us some positives and exposes some negatives, so we know where we stand.”
The Red Raiders will be back on their home field Monday evening to take on Absegami.