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Southern Cape May County field hockey preview

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Lower Cape May Regional and Middle Township are the lone local high schools that offer field hockey programs. Both have traditionally been two of the better teams in the Cape-Atlantic National Conference and this season should be no different.

The following is a look at each of the two teams:

LOWER CAPE MAY

Lower Cape May enters a new season under a new head coach in Amie Hoch, who takes over for Denise Murray. Hoch had been an assistant coach in the program for two seasons, however, so the program’s transition to her leadership should work out just fine.

Lower finished two games under .500 a season ago but brings back 10 players who gained varsity experience last season. The Lady Tigers will look for leadership behind four seniors in D Bela Lotozo, D Emily Levin, MF Laura Shriver and F Morgan Hart. Shriver was a second team National Conference all-star last season. Returning juniors include F Carissa Scott, MF Katherine Swan, F Carrie Wunder, GK Averi Smith and GK Kemlyn Pearson. Also back is sophomore D Brianne Nicholas.

Junior MF Logan Walter is the top newcomer.

“We are looking to continue last year’s progress and take our playing to the next level,” Hoch said. “With that being said, we are looking for more wins than last year.”

Lower Cape May begins its season Sept. 13 at Cedar Creek.

Lower Cape May begins its regular season on Sept. 13 at Cedar Creek.

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP

Middle enjoyed a winning season last fall, winning 11 of 19 games. The return of top-flight players Maddie Anagnou and Summer Herlihy, the addition of some talented younger players and improved overall athleticism in the program should make Middle one of the better teams in the Cape-Atlantic National Conference despite the loss of six graduated starters.

Anagnou, a senior forward who was named the Gazette and Leader newspapers’ area high school female Athlete of the Year as a junior, is among the CAL’s best offensive players, having posted 29 goals and 23 assists over her career to date. Meanwhile, Herlihy, a junior, will move to a more defensive position after recording seven goals and 13 assists as a sophomore.

Other top returning players include senior F Sara Bright and sophomore GK Annie Mallett, who registered nine shutouts as a freshman.

Others with varsity experience expected to add depth include senior D Megan McClintock and MF Jessa Hughes and sophomore D Devon Nagle.

Among the new players, F Skylar Gentilini and F Jenna Herlihy are expected to start as freshmen, while sophomore MF Casey Salvadore and D Rachel Miner are also in line to make an impact this fall.

“We lost a very talented senior class to graduation and will have to utilize several underclassmen to fill those spots,” said third-year coach Janina Perna. “This is definitely the youngest team I have coached at Middle and am not sure how our inexperience will affect our season. However, I do feel confident about the future of Middle field hockey as these underclassmen continue to grow.”

Middle opens its season with a non-conference game against Vineland at home on Sept. 10.


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