VIDEO, PHOTO GALLERY: Middle suffers playoff loss through PKs
November 1, 2021
VIDEO, PHOTO GALLERY: Middle snaps winless streak with playoff victory
November 2, 2021

VIDEO: LCM pressure suffocates Gateway in second-round win


ERMA — The Lower Cape May Regional High School field hockey team again proved that a relentless, pressuring offense can often also represent good defense Monday afternoon.

The Lady Tigers suffocated Gateway, 2-0, in the second round of the South Jersey Group I Tournament by dominating possession and spending most of the game, especially the second half, in the Gator end.

The victory sends top-seeded Lower Cape May into a sectional semifinal matchup with No. 4 Collingswood on Thursday. Collingswood was a 2-0 winner over No. 5 Maple Shade in its second-round game Monday.

Lower generated 21 corner chances and 15 shots, compared to zero corner chances and just one shot on goal for No. 9 Gateway.

“That’s our plan, to really pressure teams,” Lower coach Anne Bracken said.

Still, Lower didn’t grab full control of the game until late in the third quarter when Ryan Salinsky got just enough off Maggie Boyle’s cross to send the ball across the line to give her team its two-goal cushion with 23 seconds remaining.

The goal came on the last of six corner opportunities in the final five minutes of the period.

“I think we missed a lot of opportunities,” Bracken said. “We had quite a few corners we couldn’t capitalize on. But they’re a good team and they played hard against us.”

Salinsky’s goal “was very, very big,” Bracken added. “One of the things we’ve worked on this season is not letting up for a second.”

Boyle opened the scoring with 8:15 to go in the opening quarter. Lower threatened quite a few other times over the course of the first half but didn’t take full control until Salinsky’s tally late in the third quarter.

Gateway (13-8) managed one good look at goal in the fourth quarter but a shot from about 15 yards away on the right side of the scoring circle missed the far left post by about two feet.

Lower, winners of 11 straight games, will now prepare for a Collingswood team that “could be the best in the bracket,” Bracken said.

“In the playoffs, every team you’re going to meet is going to have very, very good players,” she said. “We have to make sure we’re playing our best.”

As the top seed, Lower will again enjoy the comforts of home.

“Having home field advantage is huge,” Bracken said. “The girls have worked their butts off for it. Their hard work has paid off.”

A win Thursday will put Lower in a sectional title game for the first time in program history.

Lower Cape May’s Maddie Schiffbauer moves the ball away from three Gateway defenders during Monday’s playoff game.

Lower Cape May defender Sabrina Faulkner calmly gets inside position against a Gateway attacker.

Maggie Boyle had a goal and an assist for Lower Cape May in its 2-0 playoff victory over Gateway Monday.