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Middle Township's Libby Bostard tries to spin away from the defense of Lower Cape May's Eden Brojakowski.

  • Middle Township's Aubrey Hunter whips a shot at goal as Lower Cape May's Eden Brojakowski defends during the teams' game last season.
  • Middle Township's Maddie Barber tries to get past Lower Cape May's Paige Golden.
  • Middle Township's Kira Sides (center) has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Division I LaSalle University.
  • Middle Township's Libby Bostard tries to spin away from the defense of Lower Cape May's Eden Brojakowski.
  • Lower Cape May goaltender Melani Amador outlets to a teammate after making a save.
  • Middle Township's Lauren Newbold and Lower Cape May's Eden Brojakowski reach for a ground ball.
  • Middle Township's Maddie Barber and Lower Cape May's Jenna Durbin battle for a ball in the air.
  • Lower Cape May's Leah Jones flips a pass forward as Middle Township's Rachel Williams defends.
  • Lower Cape May's Marissa Giancola prepares to shoot.

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The Middle Township High School girls lacrosse team pulled away from one of its biggest rivals Thursday to advance in the state tournament.

After the teams traded a series of goals to form a 3-3 draw early in the game, Middle finished the half on a 7-3 run before dominating the second half and posting a 21-10 victory over Lower Cape May.

The win moves third-seeded Middle (15-4) into the South Jersey Group II semifinal round, where the Lady Panthers will face No. 2 Camden Catholic on Monday. No. 6 Lower Cape May had its season ended at 10-9.

Sophomore Maddie Barner starred for Middle Township. She netted four goals, passed out 13 assists, recorded 16 draw controls and collected eight ground balls. Fellow sophomore Kira Sides was the top goal scorer with eight and also dished four assists. And yet another sophomore, Aubrey Hunter, added three goals and an assist.

Also for Middle, Catherine Bostard and Libby Bostard each added two goals and Carly Gombar and Alexa Hirsch each chipped in one.

After leading 10-6 at the break, Middle scored five straight goals to start the second half to take control. Lower rallied after a timeout to score three straight to cut its deficit to six goals, but Middle finished the game on a 6-1 scoring run.

Many of Middle’s goals, particularly in the second half, came in transition after making defensive stops.

Maya Critchfield led Lower with four goals. Leah Jones and Jenna Durbin each added two and Marissa Giancola had a goal and two assists.

— Brian Cunniff