GALLOWAY – The Absegami High School girls soccer team checked off all the attributes of a solid team in a 2-0 win over Ocean City Wednesday afternoon.
Resiliency? Check. Senior leadership? Check. Contributions from players young and old? Check.
Senior goaltender Becca Roesch made several big saves in the second half to protect a slim lead and record her third shutout of the season. The Braves got goals in each half from senior Julia Dolan and freshman Jada Patrick in the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference win.
Absegami (4-1) rebounded from its first loss of the season last Friday, when it gave up a goal with 24 seconds left in regulation against intra-district rival Oakcrest.
“That really hit our hearts because they’re our sister school,” Roesch said of the 1-0 loss to the Falcons. “We always come out for blood against Oakcrest. It definitely motivated us.”
“The coaches told us that we had to come to play today,” Dolan said. “Ocean City is a really good team. We knew we could play with them. After the loss we were ready to play and show everyone what we’ve really got.”
Roesch was very active in the second half as the Red Raiders (3-3) applied the pressure. She stopped several point-blank shots, and got a bit lucky as the Raiders missed a few wide-open nets. She also was called for a strange infraction in which she made a save, rolled the ball forward to kill some time, and then picked it up again, resulting in an indirect kick for Ocean City that Roesch was able to corral.
“They had some good chances there,” said Roesch, a senior who recently committed to play softball at Slippery Rock (Pa.) University. “We were able to stop them pretty well. It was a good win.”
Roesch got a lot of help from senior Dolan, the “quarterback” of the Braves who constantly encourages and instructs her teammates from her position at center back.
“She’s always keeping me in check and everybody else in check,” Roesch said of Dolan. “She does a great job for us on defense. I’ve been playing with her since seventh grade.”
Dolan is not only adept at clearing the ball and chipping in on offense, she’s also good at returning compliments. “I realize a lot more this year how good Becca is,” Dolan said of Roesch, “because I’m playing back there with her, and she’s huge, directing us, telling us what to do, getting to balls that no one else could save. She’s a really big help to us.”
Dolan, Roesch and Emma Wilkins are the senior leaders for Absegami, but the Braves are a serious contender in the CAL this season because they are getting significant contributions from starting freshmen Allie Tierney and Jada Patrick, who combined to score the second goal Wednesday with 4:17 left to play, along with several other players with limited or no varsity experience.
“Our freshmen class is very good,” Roesch said. “They’re going to be good for the next four years. I think they’re trying to teach the rest of us how to score and how to finish, because we haven’t been able to do that.”
“The freshmen combined with us is just great,” Dolan said. “We all get along, which helps on the field. We all just want to play for each other and win.”
NOTE: There was a reunion of sorts for the Absegami girls soccer program after the game, as former Braves Alexis Robinson and Kelcie Dolan greeted coach Elizabeth Lee, along with Gary Skroski, father of former Absegami and Rutgers star Erica Skroski, who is now playing professionally for Sky Blue FC. Kelcie Dolan is a sophomore at Temple University, where she will be joined on the Owls next year by younger sister Julia and teammate Emma Wilkins.