For the fourth straight year and the seventh time overall, the postseason rivals will clash to decide the Group 3 championship on Saturday at Bordentown High School. Game time is 4 p.m., the fourth of a five-game title slate. The winners advance to next week's Tournament of Champions.
Warren Hills (22-2), which is one win shy of matching the school record set in 2014, seeks its second straight state championship and first under coach Kate Rothman, who took over a program poised for a title repeat this season. The Blue Streaks cruised through their first four postseason games, outscoring their opponents by a combined 20-0.
Last year, Amanda Crampton's goal in overtime ended nearly 20 years of frustration as Warren Hills scored a 5-4 win in sudden victory over Ocean City, which had won their five previous meetings in the Group 3 finals dating to 1999. In fact, the Red Raiders were 9-0 overall in state finals until that loss. One of New Jersey's most storied programs, only Eastern (18), Moorestown (16), West Essex (16), Shore Regional (14) and Shawnee (11) have won more state titles than Ocean City (9).
Warren Hills, which lost six starting seniors from that championship team, is back in the Group 3 final and appears to be playing a notch above last season. Junior forward Dani Profita (40 goals, 25 assists) gets a lot of attention, but the offense is even more balanced than a year ago.
Profita, who owns the school's single-season records for goals and points (105), along with the career mark for goals (79), is just three points shy of that career record as well (Sydney Muntone 211 from 2011-14).
But sophomore forward Rebecca Sigman (19 goals, 5 assists), along with senior forward Megan Thompson (19 goals, 12 assists) and senior midfielder Katie Thompson (17 goals, 14 assists) are all threats to score. Even senior back Rachel Phillips, the rock of a solid defensive unit, has nine goals and 18 assists.
Junior goalie Jackie deRaismes has helped secure 13 shutouts this season and her experience in the cage during last year's title run should prove valuable on Saturday against an Ocean City squad hungry for redemption.
Ocean City (22-1), which dropped a 4-1 decision to state power Eastern on Oct. 27, has also steamrolled its way to an 11th state finals appearance. The Red Raiders, who won the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference title, have outscored their four playoff opponents 24-3, including a 5-2 win over Moorestown in the Group 3 semifinals on Wednesday.
Coach Cory Terry, whose teams are 123-12 in her six seasons, has plenty of offensive firepower starting with senior forward Jordan Allegretto (26 goals, 12 assists), who led Ocean City in scoring a year ago. Junior Rialee Allen, who scored a goal in last year's title game, leads the offense with 38 goals and 26 assists, while senior Maria Farnan has 24 goals. Junior Julia Herrington, who scored twice against Moorestown, is a North Carolina recruit.
Defensively, senior Charity Beckert (17 shutouts) was in the cage for last season's title game.
Shore vs. Haddonfield, 10 a.m.
Oak Knoll vs. Bishop Eustace, noon
Madison vs. Wall, 2 p.m.
Warren Hills vs. Ocean City, 4 p.m.
Bridgewater-Raritan vs. Eastern, 6 p.m.