By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA — When the Lower Cape May Regional High School field hockey team practiced penalty strokes the day before its South East Region A Tournament game, its goalkeeper, Reagan Morrison, didn’t think she performed that well.
“Well, she thinks she didn’t do well,” Lower coach Anne Bracken said.
There was no disagreement on Morrison’s performance in Friday’s game against Atlantic City.
Morrison stopped two penalty strokes to lead her team to a 4-2 edge in the shoutout to earn the victory after a hard-fought 1-1 draw through regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods.
The win sends Lower Cape May (4-6), the eight seed in the sectional, into a quarterfinal round game at top-seeded Ocean City on Tuesday.
The first two shooters for each team each converted their strokes. Morrison then stopped two straight, one with her blocker and the other with one of her pads. Sabrina Faulkner clinched the win on Lower’s fourth stroke. Maggie Boyle, Julia Gibson and Jenna O’Neill also converted for the Lady Tigers.
“We knew (going to penalty strokes) was a possibility so we wanted to be prepared and it paid off,” said Bracken, who added that her program had never before been involved in a shootout during her seven seasons as coach.
Lower Cape May trailed the ninth-seeded Vikings (1-9) at halftime before Maddie Schiffbauer banged home a rebound at the left post after Boyle’s initial chance at the right post early in the third quarter to level the score.
Lower went on to control most of the remainder of regulation and dominated overtime — the Lady Tigers earned six corner chances in the first extra period alone — but could not score.
“I thought we played great but we just couldn’t finish,” Bracken said. “I think we dominated the third and fourth quarters and then most of overtime but we couldn’t score. But Atlantic City also played us tough.
“Atlantic City is a good team. I don’t think their record reflects that. We knew coming in this would be a tough game so our girls were pumped and ready to go. As long as they give it their all, I don’t care about the outcome.”
But Lower Cape May did get the outcome, keeping a 2020 season that’s been wild and strange for everyone alive for at least a few more days.