By Jim Hintelmann
DOVER TOWNSHIP – No. 13 was certainly not bad luck for the Shore Regional field hockey team.
The Blue Devils continued their domination of the Shore Conference Tournament by edging out Freehold Boro, 1-0, to run their remarkable streak of SCT championships to 13 in a row.
The game was almost a repeat from last year when these two teams played in the finals with Shore winning, 2-1.
The game was originally scheduled for Holmdel High School, but it was switched to Toms River North when the Holmdel field was covered by snow during last Saturday’s storm.
Nancy Williams, in her 41st year as Shore field hockey coach, didn’t want to compare this win with the other 12 SCT titles, but it was special nevertheless.
“It was a great game,” said Williams. “The difference this year was that we were the favorites going in. Last year we were the underdogs. It was also special because a lot of players on this team never played on this kind of level before. We have only four senior starters. The kids are playing great.”
The only goal in the game came in the first half off a penalty corner when Hannah Barreca took a shot that rolled toward the goal and Alyssa Ercolino slapped it in.
“After she (Barreca) took the shot, I was able to get it and hit it into the goal before their goalie could stop it,” said Ercolino, one of the four senior starters.
“This is very exciting,” said Ercolino, a three-year varsity starter. “We’re a better team then we were last year, but this was closer than we expected.
“We didn’t want to be the team that had the streak broken,” she said. “It was awesome because we kept the tradition going.”
With the division and SCT championship wrapped up, Shore now turned its attention to the NJSIAA Group I Tournament, which began last week. Shore advanced out of the first round with a 9-1 win over Henry Hudson.
“Oak Knoll is the team to beat,” said Williams. “They are the reigning Tournament of Champions winner. We’ll meet them in the sectional finals if we get that far.”