By BRIAN CUNNIFF
There’s a major showdown in Cape-Atlantic League girls lacrosse Monday afternoon.
Two Cape May County rivals, both of whom happen to be unbeaten so far this season, will meet Monday at 4 p.m. when Middle Township hosts Lower Cape May at the new lacrosse facility on Shunpike Road.
The game will be broadcast live through a video stream on CoastSportsToday.com. (CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE VIDEO STREAM)
Middle (7-0) is one of the top defensive teams in South Jersey. After giving up 12 goals in a one-goal win over Mainland in its season opener, the Lady Panthers have yielded no more than five in a game since.
Middle goalkeeper Amelia Slick has conceded only 28 goals in seven games, an average of just four per game. Meanwhile, Middle remains one of the more prolific offensive teams in the area as well, averaging more than 17 goals per game. The offense is sparked by Kira Sides, a junior who has already committed to play college lacrosse at Division I LaSalle. Sides, who recently surpassed 200 career goals, brings season totals of 40 goals and 20 assists into Monday’s contest. Another junior, Maddie Barber, is a terrific playmaker, adding 19 goals and a team-best 34 assists to along with a team-best 18 ground balls. And junior Aubrey Hunter is also an all-around threat with 14 goals and 15 assists. Brianna Robinson (12 goals) and Kate Herlihy (eight goals) also add scoring punch for head coach Tina Prickett’s team.
Middle was last in action Thursday, picking up an 18-5 win over Atlantic City.
Lower (8-0) has a bit more balance in its offense, with five players having scored at least 10 goals. Senior Marissa Giancola leads the way with 27 goals and 16 assists, followed by freshman Sabrina Faulkner with 22 goals and 14 assists. Junior Carina Raymond has 17 goals and 17 assists and freshman Maddie Schiffbauer has added 10 goals. Meanwhile, junior Julia Cook is a factor in the middle of the field. She leads the team with 29 draw controls and 20 ground balls.
Lower was dealt a blow earlier this month when junior Maya Critchfield, a starter since her freshman season and a major offensive contributor with 13 goals so far this season, suffered a knee injury and was lost for the season.
Senior goalkeeper Melani Amador has made 102 saves against just 51 goals.
The Lady Tigers are coached by JoAnn McLaughlin.