By LESLEY GRAHAM
On a beautiful crisp fall evening, the Ocean City High School girls soccer team defeated the visiting Middle Township Panthers, 3-0.
The win Tuesday brings Ocean City’s record to a division-leading 5-0-1, while Middle drops to 5-2-1.
Scoring for Ocean City were Summer Reimet, Suzy Dietrich and Paige Panico, with Reimet, Dietrich and Faith Slimmer all adding assists.
Last time out, the Red Raiders were unable to score against Middle Township, leading to their only tie of the season. So this time out, first year Head Coach Lisa Cuneo was looking to her team for execution and precision, both of which they accomplished.
“We definitely changed some things up,” Cuneo said after the game. “We can’t expect to come out and do everything the same every time and for it to work. So we looked for change and the execution of those changes went perfectly.”
“Our outside mids played well, found their space, played the long ball early, allowing us to put three goals on the scoreboard this evening,” she continued.
With 10 minutes ticked off the clock in the first half, Ocean City was able to find the back of the net off the foot of Reimet, on a pass from Dietrich.
The Red Raiders would continue to dominate the pace of play, limiting the Panthers to only a handful of shots on goal throughout the entire 80-minute contest.
As the second half got underway, with about 10 minutes off the clock, the Red Raiders once again found the back of the net. This time Reimet repaid the favor to Dietrich, who booted the ball in on a beautiful outside kick.
Cuneo, who was the assistant coach the previous seven seasons for the defending state champion Red Raiders, was thrilled by the second-half goal.
“We drew it up at halftime, never having attempted it before, but we knew we had the talent – both physically and mentally – to make it work. And they did just that,” she said.
As the second half waned, Ocean City added one last goal, putting the finishing touch on the dominant effort over Middle Township. Faith Slimmer fed the ball to Paige Panico, who put it away.
“Middle is a very good team. They have great defensive backs and speed, so the atmosphere and the game itself felt like a playoff game. As it should, because you never know when things can change, especially this season,” Cuneo said.
“My speech to them before we got out there was you have to play like this is our last game, because it very well could be,” she added.