Thursday, November 5, 2015

Field hockey: Newton claims back-to-back titles

Senior forward Emily Weiss scored the decisive goal with about 14 minutes left in the second half as top-seeded Newton earned a 1-0 win over No. 2 Pompton Lakes in the North 1, Group 1 sectional final on Thursday at Palmer Field.

Newton (18-1-2) advances to face North 2 champion Shore Regional on Wednesday in a rematch of last year's Group 1 semifinal -- a 2-0 win for Shore. The Group 1 championship game will be played on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Bordentown High School.

The Braves claimed the program's 10th sectional title -- most by a Sussex County school-- and second under longtime coach Lisa Bechtel, now 379-132-18 in 26 seasons. Newton ended its championship drought last season with a 1-0 win over Kittatinny in the North 1, Group 1 final -- its first sectional title since 1986.

Weiss' goal -- off a deflection -- was her sixth of the season. Senior midfielder Hannah Ervey and junior Nicole Rizzo were credited with assists on the play. Senior goalie Katie O'Brien made one save for the shutout, the Braves' 12th of the season. Lisa Schrage made 15 saves for Pompton Lakes (13-7-2), which was bidding for its 14th title and first since 2010.

North 2, Group 1

Shore 7, South Hunterdon 0 -- Junior goalie Giovanna Rubino stopped 25 shots, but the sixth-seeded Eagles ended their season at 12-9 with a loss to top-seeded Shore. South Hunterdon, which has won 14 sectional titles -- most of any Skyland Conference program -- was seeking its first championship since 2002. The loss also ended the Eagles' four-game win streak after three straight postseason victories.

Shore (20-4) claimed its 24th sectional title -- second only to West Essex (32) and Moorestown (25) in New Jersey history -- and its third in a row.

North 2, Group 4

Bridgewater 5, Hunterdon Central 1 -- Senior forward Amanda Whitlock's goal off a feed from senior forward Maddie Freeman wasn't enough for the second-seeded Red Devils in the sectional final -- a third loss to the top-seeded Panthers this season.

Central (17-6) was denied in its bid for the program's 14th sectional title and first since 2013.

Bridgewater has now won 11 straight sectional titles and finished as the Group 4 runner-up behind Eastern in the previous 10 seasons. Central is 8-23-2 against Bridgewater during coach Jenn Sponzo's 17 seasons and have lost eighth straight meetings since a 2-1 win in 2013.

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