By BRIAN CUNNIFF
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The Middle Township High School field hockey team responded well to a shaky first quarter in Monday’s Southwest A Region quarterfinal.
After giving up the first goal and missing a couple of glorious chances in the opening quarter, Middle responded with vigor by sending three goals into the cage in the second quarter en route to a 4-1 victory over Haddon Heights.
The win sends top-seeded Middle (11-2-1) into Wednesday’s sectional semifinal round against No. 4 Woodstown.
No. 8 Haddon Heights (5-8) scored a goal off a corner chance to take an early lead. Middle went on to miss a penalty stroke and failed to convert on a couple of corner chances later in the opening quarter.
But Dakota Ludman began a stretch of three goals in a seven-minute span of the second quarter as Middle collected control of the contest. Ludman’s blast from the left side off a feed from Kate Herlihy tied the score, before Herlihy gave Middle the lead for good by bouncing a backhand shot inside the left post. Shea Gerhard produced the third by redirecting Herlihy’s backhand shot from the top of the shooting circle out of the air and past the goalkeeper.
After a scoreless third period, Maddy Scarpa capped the scoring with a goal in the final frame.
Grace Thompson made two saves in goal for Middle, which, aside from the opening goal, turned away nearly all Haddon Heights forays into the shooting circle.