VIDEO: Middle explodes in first half, wins opener
August 30, 2018
Boys soccer: OC and Middle look tough, others rebuilding
September 3, 2018

Cape May County boasts solid field hockey teams

Lower Cape May field hockey captains (from left) Leah Jones, Makayla Hueber, Reese Bracken and Julia Hinker.

Cape May County has just three high school field hockey teams. All three should be very competitive this fall.

Ocean City, as usual, is expected to be one of the top programs in South Jersey. Middle Township, coming off a surprising run to the South Jersey Group I final last season, should be one of the better small-school teams in the region. And Lower Cape May, with many players back from a team that finished with a winning record last fall, should also emerge as a rather formidable club.

The following is a look at each of the Cape May County high school field hockey teams:


After a couple of seasons of rebuilding, Lower Cape May showed marked improvement by finishing 9-7-2 last season. With many of its players returning, the team hopes to be even better this fall.

Lower Cape May field hockey captains (from left) Leah Jones, Makayla Hueber, Reese Bracken and Julia Hinker.

Fourteen players are back, and many are still underclassmen. The seniors include D Julia Hinker, D Cecilie Reeb, F Leah Jones, F Katya Simonsen, D Andrea McVay and MF Kayleigh Sandman. Juniors are F Julia Cook, MF Reese Bracken, D Eden Brijakowski, GK Makayla Heuber, F Julianna McClain and MF Maya Critchfield. Another junior, D Carina Raymond, is expected to return late in the season. She’s currently sidelined by injury. F Nina Young is a returning sophomore.

Freshmen expected to see time with the varsity this fall include MF Sabrina Faulkner, F Maggie Boyle, D Jenna O’Neill and MF Maddie Schiffbauer.

Hueber, Jones, Hinker and Bracken are serving as team captains.

“The whole team is working well together,” said fourth-year head coach Anne Bracken. “We are on track to outperform our record from last year.”

Lower Cape May is set to open its season Wednesday at Absegami. The team’s first home game is Friday against St. Joseph.

— Brian Cunniff



Middle Township faced a difficult regular-season schedule last fall. While the team’s final record (12-9-1) might not have been as impressive as in some recent past seasons, the tough competition paid off as a young Lady Panther side made a run to the South Jersey Group I title game, losing in penalty strokes to Schalick after a scoreless draw.

Although many of the starting defenders graduated, most of the players in the midfield and forward lines are back, so there’s optimism that Middle can be a force again this fall.

Senior D Bridget Donohue and junior MF Caroline Gallagher are the team’s captains. Gallagher (13 assists in 2017) is one of the area’s top players. Other returning seniors include F Tamara Farrow and GK Julia Mallett. Additional juniors back for the team are D Ava Karimalis, F McKenna Super, D Michaela Graham and GK Kate Hand. Returning sophomores include MF Kate Herlihy (17 goals in 2017), MF Kelcie Morrow and D Lexie Frank.

Newcomers to the varsity include senior F Alexa Hirsch and D Reese Canter; junior MF Veronica Johnson; sophomore F Briar Lemma, F Dakota Ludman and MF/F Shea Gerhard; and freshman F Chloe Breakell.


“I feel good about this season,” said eighth-year coach Janina Perna, who enters the season seven wins shy of 100 for her career. “We are returning six starters and six more varsity letter winners from last season. This team’s strengths are very reminiscent of our 2016 team that was the most successful in school history.”

Middle opens the season Wednesday with at Shawnee, one of several difficult non-league games on the schedule. The Lady Panthers are also scheduled to play Ocean City, Mainland, Egg Harbor Township, Delsea and Cinnaminson outside the conference.

The team’s first Cape-Atlantic National Conference game is Friday at Oakcrest.

— Brian Cunniff


The Raiders (14-8 in 2018) suffered five of their eight losses last fall by one goal, including a 1-0 loss in a South Jersey Group III final to Clearview, which ended a five-year streak of sectional championships for Ocean City. All-stars Shannon O’Reilly and Hailey Flukey graduated along with Lainie Allegretto, Hailey Stack and Sophia Ritzel.

Ocean City’s Reese Bloomstead is one of the area’s top returning high school field hockey players.

Kelsey Mitchell, a former New Jersey Player of the Year at Eastern, starts her second season as head coach with all-stars Reese Bloomstead (16 goals, 15 assists) and goalkeeper Maddie Kahn back in the lineup, along with Chloe Prettyman (11 goals, 10 assists), Sophia Gresham (6 goals), Molly Reardon (6 goals, 5 assists) and Tara McNally (4 goals, 4 assists).

The Raiders will contend for the conference championship and will play their always tough non-league schedule that features four teams ranked in the state top 10 by – No. 8 Haddonfield, No. 7 Bishop Eustace, No. 6 West Essex and No. 2 Oak Knoll. Ocean City opens Friday at Vineland and will play its home opener Sept. 13 with Millville at Carey Stadium.

— Tom Williams