By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA — The Lower Cape May Regional High School field hockey team’s hopes of reaching the South Jersey title game for the first time in program history came to an end Thursday afternoon.
Collingswood scored twice within less than 3 ½ minutes of game time to take control of what had been a scoreless contest and went on to post a 3-0 victory over the Lady Tigers in a South Jersey Group I semifinal
The loss snapped an 11-game winning streak and brought Lower’s season to a close at 15-3.
“That team is really good,” Lower coach Anne Bracken said. “They have some really good stick skills and their passing was very good. We scouted them and I really thought they were the best team in the group.
“Did we play our best game? No. But I don’t want to take anything away from Collingswood.”
Mia McConnell scored with 1:17 remaining in the second quarter and then added a second only 1:56 into the third quarter as fourth-seeded Collingswood jumped to a 2-0 lead. Lily Bataloni essentially put the game away for the winners with a third goal late in the third quarter.
Top-seeded Lower did muster some good spells of possession and a couple of scoring chances in the final period but couldn’t find the cage.
The loss brings to an end the high school field hockey careers of Lower Cape May seniors Maddie Schiffbauer, Jenna O’Neill, Julia Gibson, Molly Davis, Maggie Boyle and Sabrina Faulkner.
“They’re a great group of seniors,” Bracken said. “They’re great athletes who worked really hard. This wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but that doesn’t take away from the season we had because we had a good one.
“I said before this game that this is the best team I’ve coached and I still feel that way. We had a great season. We can’t let this loss take all that away.”