The Ocean City High School field hockey team suffered a heartbreaking loss Wednesday night to the visiting Middle Township Panthers 3-2. Middle Township improves to 13-2 on the season, while the Red Raiders drop to 11-5.
As the rain and wind pelted the players, both teams worked the ball throughout the midfield.
Ocean City maintained possession for the majority of the first half having a number of scoring opportunities throughout, but just couldn’t put on the finishing touches. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the half, the Red Raiders were able to find the back of the net off the stick of senior captain Chloe Prettyman.
Less than three minutes later Middle Township answered back with a goal of their own bobbing and weaving through Ocean City’s defenders to tie the game at one apiece.
As the rain continued to fall, the second half got underway with more of the same action. A lot of back and forth play by both teams and a number of scoring opportunities lead to almost an entire half of scoreless play.
With 2 minutes remaining in the game, Middle Township scored off an unsettled situation. As the Red Raiders were shifting out of the free five meter space given to a team after a foul, the Middle Township Panthers quickly approached the ball, dodged through traffic and took a shot on cage.
But Ocean City was not to be outdone. Keeping the game interesting for the die hard fans braving the elements, the Red Raiders were awarded a penalty corner with under a minute to play. Although unsuccessful, as the seconds ticked down, Ocean City was awarded a corner. With the clock showing zero, Ocean City had one last opportunity to score. Chloe Prettyman hit the ball up to Tara McNally who had a perfect line drive shot on cage, giving the Red Raiders the goal and a shot at an overtime win.
Overtime consists of a seven vs seven for a 10 minute period and the first to score wins. It took less than two minutes for Middle Township to find a breakaway opportunity and end the game with a notch in the win column.
Head Coach Kelsey Mitchell said postgame, “Middle (township) played a strong game. They are a tough team and play very hard. We need to finish on our opportunities and play tougher as a unit.
The Red Raiders will be back in action Friday as they travel to Egg Harbor Township for an afternoon game.