By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA — The Lower Cape May Regional High School field hockey team continued its strong start to the season Monday afternoon.
Under glorious late-summer playing conditions, the Lady Tigers won for the fourth time in their first five games through a thorough 4-1 victory over Our Lady of Mercy Academy.
“I think we played as a team, which, if we do that, we’re going to be a hard team to beat,” Lower coach Anne Bracken said.
Maddie Schiffbauer scored the first and final goals for Lower Cape May and also chipped in an assist. Her second goal with 3 minutes, 29 seconds to play ended any thoughts of an OLMA comeback after the Villagers had scored their lone goal four minutes prior to cut Lower’s lead to 3-1.
“Maddie is classic, because as soon as the other team scores she gets really mad, which is very helpful to us,” Bracken said with a laugh. “Against Holy Spirit, we were up 2-0 and they scored and then they scored again and she went and took it right down and answered for us (in a 3-2 win last week). It’s nice to see.”
Schiffbauer’s opener gave Lower a 1-0 lead at the half. Julia Gibson scored Lower’s second goal four minutes into the third quarter, with Ryan Salinsky adding the third 3 ½ minutes in the fourth.
Gibson and Jenna O’Neill also provided assists.
Mahogany Kelly made four saves in net for the goalkeeping victory. OLMA’s only goal was scored on a strange deflection midway through the fourth quarter.
“Today was a good game,” Bracken said. “We’re learning as we go. I’m happy that we’re working on the things we needed to work on and we’re making the fixes.”
In addition to OLMA and Holy Spirit, Lower has also beaten rival Middle Township and Buena.
Lower’s lone loss to date was a 2-0 decision at Cedar Creek.
“We had a tough one against Cedar Creek, but we’ll see them again,” Bracken said.
Lower faces a stiff test Wednesday in a home game against unbeaten St. Joseph (6-0).