Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Field hockey: Pope John, High Point roll to wins

High Point and Pope John have been two of the hottest teams of late in an otherwise down year for Sussex County field hockey. Ironically, both teams were scheduled to meet on Monday before rain washed out the slate.

We'll have to wait until Tuesday, Oct. 30 for that matchup. In the meantime, both teams prevailed on a light Wednesday schedule in NJAC American Division contests.

Senior Darby Smith scored three goals as High Point scored an easy 6-0 win over Sparta in Wantage.

The Wildcats (13-1-1, 11-0 division), who ran their win streak to eight straight since a 4-0 independent loss to Pingry on Sept. 22, are closing in on their third straight American Division title and have now won 38 in a row in divisional play dating to 2010. Coach Bev Keur's club can clinch the outright championship with a win at second-place Montville (9-2-2 division) on Friday. The 'Cats last lost a division game in 2009 -- 2-0 at Vernon on Nov. 9 in the final game of the season.

On Saturday, High Point, ranked No. 4 in the Open Mike area, hosts No. 2 Hunterdon Central in a Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex tournament semifinal.

The High Point defense also posted its ninth shutout of the season in the win over the Spartans (3-9, 2-8).

Meanwhile, Pope John won its third straight divisional game with a 6-1 pasting of Vernon on the turf at Macerino Stadium in Vernon. Senior forward and leading scorer Rachel Spetz scored two goals and assisted on another for the Lions (8-5-2, 7-3-1), who registered a season high for goals scored as a team and have won seven of nine since a 1-3-2 start.

Forward Kim Leung scored her sixth goal of the season for the Vikings (4-10, 4-8), who have lost six of their last seven. Pope John swept the season series -- winning the first meeting, 3-1, on Sept. 20.

Elsewhere in non-league action:

Warren Hills 2, Peddie 0 -- Senior forward Niki Miller, the Blue Streaks' assists machine, added two more to raise her season total to 21, as the Warren County school improved to 16-1 with its 10th straight win. Miller recently surpassed Lauren Cuff (18 in 2002) for the school's single-season mark and became the all-time leader in the process in Tuesday's win over Hunterdon Central. Sophomore forward Sydney Muntone scored her 14th goal of the season on Wednesday. Goalie Katie Wintersteen posted her ninth shutout, as the defense has allowed just three goals in its last nine games.

Easton (Pa.) 2, Phillipsburg 1 (OT) -- Molly Zgoda scored off a feed from Katie Decker to tie things in the second half, but the Stateliners (9-9) fell in overtime against their arch-rivals from across the Delaware River. Goalie Brittany Lavin made six saves in the loss. P'burg will likely be the No. 3 seed when the North 1, Group 4 playoffs begin next week.

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