Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wrestling: Group 5 likely coming across the board

Hate to say we told you so, but the reality is that Group 5 for wrestling is seemingly here to stay.

The sad experiment that was implemented last season as a one-year pilot program was adopted again for the 2015-16 season -- and likely beyond -- by the NJSIAA voting members.

What's next? Expansion from six to eight qualifiers in the sectional tournaments? Don't scoff, they're discussing and voting on that as well.

In another unsurprising but favorable move, the Group championships are shifting back to Toms River North after a disastrous return to Trenton last season. To be fair, poor weather contributed to the low attendance figures, but the lack of marquee matchups did little to entice even diehard fans to make the trip to dreary Sun Bank National Center.

As for Group 5, well, this is a sign of the times in wrestling and most high school sports. Pressure to win trophies -- which is being cultivated on the youth level -- has become a factor in decisions to put what is best for the overall sport on the back burner. Group 5 has watered down the postseason playing field and robbed us last season of a Brick Memorial-Phillipsburg showdown for the Group 4 title, since Brick was housed in Group 5.

"It helped us last year, but it's not what's best for the sport," said Newton coach Eric Bollette, whose Braves have a much easier road a year ago in the North 1, Group 1 section with five groups. The Sussex County school will be in North 2, Group 1 for this season.

The closeness of the voting in the Northwest Jersey Athletic and Skyland conferences was at least a bit encouraging moving forward.

In the NJAC, the vote 18-14 in favor with seven abstentions. Sadly, West Morris, did not cast a vote either way. Of  the seven abstentions, only Delbarton and Hackettstown have wrestling programs. You can understand Delbarton not voting since it does not have a dog in the fight with Group 5 not impacting the Non-Public ranks. But Hackettstown not casting a vote is a real head-scratcher. Why not vote on something that could affect your program?

Boonton also suggested having eight qualifiers instead of six for the sectional tournaments, something that lasted just one season in the early 1990s before going to six. Prior to having eight, just four teams qualified in each section.

Here's the breakdown of votes:

Five groups -- Hanover Park, Hopatcong, Lenape Valley, Madison, Mendham, Montville, Morris Hills, Morris Knolls, Morristown, Mount Olive, Mountain Lakes, North Warren, Parsippany Hills, Pequannock, Roxbury, Sparta, Vernon, Whippany Park.

Four groups -- Boonton, Butler, Chatham, Dover, High Point, Jefferson, Kinnelon, Kittatinny, Morris Catholic, Newton, Parsippany, Pope John, Randolph, Wallkill Valley.

Abstentions -- Academy of St. Elizabeth, Delbarton, Hackettstown, Morris Tech, Morristown-Beard, Sussex Tech, Villa Walsh Academy.

Over in the Skyland Conference, the vote was 10-8 in favor of keeping Group 5, according to Skyland vice president and Voorhees athletic director Al Stumpf, who curiously could not provide a school-by-school breakdown of the votes.

Apparently, in talking with some area coaches, votes were cast by the ADs, who did not necessarily consult with their coaches.

Belvidere and Phillipsburg are the only known schools in Hunterdon-Warren to vote against Group 5.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Field hockey: Streaks' season ends in TOC semis

Warren Hills' field hockey team, fresh off winning its second straight Group 3 title, dropped a 4-1 decision to Eastern on Wednesday in the Tournament of Champions semifinals at West Windsor North High School.

The Blue Streaks (23-3), who had their five-game win streak snapped, finished arguably the greatest season in program history by matching a school record for wins -- set last year -- as well as the program's 13th sectional championship. First-year coach Kate Rothman's team earned its second TOC appearance with a 1-0 win against Ocean City on Saturday in the Group 3 final.

Eastern (26-0) advances to face Oak Knoll (24-1) -- a 4-3 winner in overtime against Madison in the other semifinal -- in Friday's championship game at Kean University. The unbeaten Vikings, who defeated the Royals in the last two TOC finals, fell to Oak Knoll in the 2010 title game.

Eastern, along with any knowledgeable field hockey fan, was miffed by its ridiculous No. 4 seed in the TOC, which seeded all five qualifying teams by power points (through its first 13 regular-season games) for the first time in tournament history. Eastern is the consensus No. 1 team in New Jersey and the nation.

Warren Hills, the No. 1 seed, was hosed most of all by the new seeding process by having to face an Eastern squad that is ranked No. 1 in the nation and is riding a 132-game unbeaten streak since the loss in the 2010 TOC final.

Junior forward Dani Profita complete a record-setting season with her team-leading 41st goal in the loss to Eastern. Her 41 goals and 107 points are single-season records for the Blue Streaks, while she also holds the career mark for goals with 80. The goal also raised Profita's career points total to 211, tying her with Sydney Muntone (2011-14) as the school's all-time leader in that category.

Profita will enter her senior season just six assists shy of the career record of 57 shared by Muntone and Niki Miller (2009-12). Miller still holds the single-season record of 29, set in 2012. Profita led the Streaks with 25 assists this season.

Warren Hills finished with 136 goals as a team, nine shy of the record of 147 set in 2014.

The loss also marked the final game for three senior starters -- Rachel Phillips (Vermont), Katie Thompson (West Chester) and Megan Thompson (undecided).

Katie Thompson ranks seventh on the school's all-time assists list with 36 -- behind Muntone and Miller (57), Dani and Nikki Profita (51), Lindsey Schott (46) and Nikki Schott (38).

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Field hockey: Five thoughts on Warren Hills' G3 title

Warren Hills' field hockey team isn't finished yet, as the Blue Streaks still have business at hand in the Tournament of Champions on Wednesday.

But here's five thoughts on a 1-0 win over Ocean City for a second straight Group 3 championship -- the only state titles for any female sports program in the history of the school. How about a few banners detailing the tremendous success of the field hockey program being hung at the turf facility starting next season? Sounds appropriate to me.

1. Defense wins championships. Certainly won this one. Senior back Rachel Phillips was instrumental in what she deemed the unit's best game to date. Phillips was a big reason why the D held off Ocean City on nine penalty corners, and she even sparked the winning drive on offense, sending a ball screaming toward the goal from about 35 yards out to senior forward Megan Thompson, who was able to collect her own rebound for the only goal of the contest.

Can Warren Hills' field hockey team 3-peat in 2016?
Not to be outdone was the stellar performance of junior goalie Jackie de Raismes, who stopped six shots and made a pair of tremendous diving saves in the second half with Ocean City knocking on the door. After being thrown into the fire last year in her first varsity season, de Raismes, who never seems fazed by playing in big games, proved up to the challenge once again.

"After last year this was just another game to me, " said de Raismes, who, along with the rest of the team, dedicated the season to classmate Evan Murray, the Blue Streaks' quarterback who tragically died following one of the team's games earlier this season. "We knew he was watching."

2. To say the Blue Streaks were motivated for the final is perhaps the understatement of the season. Not only were they out to prove that last year was no fluke, but they took exception to comments made by Ocean City coach Cory Terry, who said "Bring it," to one media outlet following a 5-2 win over Moorestown in the Group 3 semifinals. All that ultimately mattered was the final numbers on scoreboard and the trophy going back to Washington for a second straight year.

To a player, this Warren Hills team believed all along it would return to Bordentown for a rematch with Ocean City, now 5-2 all-time in this championship series with the Streaks. The teams have met in the last four Group 3 finals, with the Red Raiders winning in 2012 and '13.

"From the beginning of the season, we never thought about anything but getting back here," said forward Katie Thompson, one of three starting seniors, along with Phillips and twin sister Megan, who will be deeply missed in 2016. "We worked so hard. It's amazing."

3. First-year coach Kate Rothman said afterward that Warren Hills played with tremendous heart and desire. It showed in a second half that favored Ocean City for nearly the full 30 minutes. But each time the Red Raiders threatened, the Streaks found a way to preserve the shutout. OC finished with a 9-3 edge in penalty corners and held Warren Hills to just two shots-on-goal in the second half. Some of the officials' calls were questionable, but the better team prevailed in the end.

4. As it did a year ago, Warren Hills jumped out in front with an early goal. In 2014, it was Katie Thompson who scored the first goal. Turn the page to Saturday, and it was twin sister Megan who notched what proved to be the game-winner just 1:56 in. It set the tone for a second straight title.

5. Of course, now the question now is can Warren Hills 3-peat? With eight returning starters -- juniors Dani Profita (40 goals, 25 assists), Brie Schwab, Tyler Stoner and de Raismes, and sophomores Rebecca Sigman (19 goals), Tali Popinko, Mikayla Dugan and Sydney Moskal -- and a strong eighth-grade class, it's a solid bet the Streaks are back in the title hunt. In addition, junior Caroline Cotte, who was expected to be one of the top players in the area, was lost for this season with a torn ACL. Cotte served as the team statistician all season and will be hungry to return in 2016.

OC isn't going away either. Despite losing three starting seniors, there are nine juniors and three sophomores on this year's roster.

"I think we can [win it next year]," de Raismes said. "We just have to take it one at a time. We are going to try our best to get back here."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Field hockey: Streaks strike for back-to-back G3 titles

BORDENTOWN -- Warren Hills' field hockey team certainly proved it could bring it.

The Blue Streaks brought their A-game, and as a result, brought home a second straight championship trophy with a hard-fought 1-0 win over nemesis Ocean City in the Group 3 final on Saturday at Bordentown Regional High School.

Warren Hills (23-2), which matched a school record for wins, repeated as the Group 3 champion with back-to-back wins over Ocean City (22-2). Last year's 5-4 win in overtime in the title game snapped the Streaks' eight-game losing skid in finals since their first appearance in 1996. Warren Hills, making its 10th finals appearance, is now 2-5 all-time vs. Ocean City, which has won nine state titles in its storied history.
Warren Hills celebrates with its second Group 3 trophy.

"This is really special," said outstanding back Rachel Phillips, one of three starting seniors who became the first group in program history to play in four straight state finals. "Some people thought we weren't as good [as the 2014 title team]. From the first open gym of the season, all we talked about was winning back-to-backs. Probably [winning] the second one [is sweeter] because it's our senior year."

Ocean City coach Cory Terry gave Warren Hills some extra motivation leading up to the rematch when she was quoted in one media outlet as saying "Bring it," in reference to the Group 3 final after a 5-2 win over Moorestown in the Group 3 semifinals. The Streaks needed no other motivation other than five previous losses to the Red Raiders in the finals dating to 1999.

"We saw [the quote] and we said we had to [beat them]," said senior forward Katie Thompson, a captain along with Phillips. "It was tough. They're our rivals. We knew they'd be out for revenge and we needed to step it up. This is the most amazing feeling."

Phillips, who played one of her best games in a fine career, started the play that led to the game's lone goal. Her hard drive from about 35 yards out found its way into the circle, and senior forward Megan Thompson, who was waiting for the ball near the left post, followed up her initial shot to give Warren Hills a 1-0 lead -- her fifth goal of the postseason -- just 1:56 into the contest.

"We talked [on the bus ride down from Washington] about getting that first goal two minutes in," said Phillips, who will play at the University of Vermont next fall. "Katie and I do that play, and Megan was at the right place."

Junior forward Dani Profita, who leads Warren Hills with 40 goals, nearly made it a two-goal cushion two minutes later on a penalty corner, but her shot ricocheted off the right post. Katie Thompson also fired a laser shot in that was denied by Ocean City goalie Charity Beckert.

After what was mainly an intense defensive struggle in the first 30 minutes, Ocean City seized the momentum in the second half. With 28:37 on the clock, the Red Raiders were awarded a penalty stroke, but Alexis Paone pushed it wide left.

Warren Hills junior goalie Jackie deRaismes, who gained valuable experience in this game a year ago, was stellar down the stretch. deRaismes stopped several point-blank shots, including a diving save across the goal line to preserve the lead and a second state championship.

"I don't know how I stopped them," deRaismes said. "After last year, this was just a game to me. I'm so proud of all my teammates. It's really great that I [got to play] in both."

Phillips once again anchored a defense that held tough -- defensing nine penalty corners -- in posting its fifth straight shutout in the postseason. Warren Hills has outscored its opponents 21-0 during this title run.

"Communication and our marking was really tight," Phillips said of the second-half keys for the defense. "Our main goal in the second half was to develop more offense, but that didn't happen. We knew we could do this. This was the best game our defense ever played."

"Twenty-one goals to none, that says it all," said first-year coach Kate Rothman, who wasn't hired until late July, just weeks before the first official practice of the season. "They played with a lot of heart and desire. [Ocean City] is a very good team. After being here last year, our girls knew they can win. I thought Jackie played a fantastic game and our three [starting] seniors are going to be sorely missed."

Katie Thompson, a West Chester recruit, is proud of what the seniors accomplished, and hopes the juniors finds themselves making history next year.

"This is very special," Thompson said of a four-year run to the finals. "We really wanted it. [The juniors] can do it next year, and I hope they do."

Note: Warren Hills will next play either Eastern or Shore Regional on Wednesday in the Tournament of Champions semfinals at West Windsor North High School. Eastern, the Group 4 champion and No. 1 team in the state, faces Group 1 champ Shore in Monday's play-in game.

Ocean City (22-2)                          0                  0              --    0
Warren Hills (23-2)                        1                  0              --    1


First half -- WH, Megan Thompson, 20th, 28:04.

Shots -- Ocean City 6; Warren Hills 6.

Saves -- Charity Beckert 5 (OC); Jackie de Raismes 6 (WH).

Penalty corners -- Ocean City 9; Warren Hills 3.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Field hockey: Streaks eyeing Group 3 title repeat

It wouldn't really be field hockey in November without a Warren Hills vs. Ocean City matchup now would it?

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.

Saturday's schedule

Group 1

Shore vs. Haddonfield, 10 a.m.


Oak Knoll vs. Bishop Eustace, noon

Group 2

Madison vs. Wall, 2 p.m.

Group 3

Warren Hills vs. Ocean City, 4 p.m.

Group 4

Bridgewater-Raritan vs. Eastern, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Field hockey: Streaks roll to 4th straight G3 final

Junior forward Dani Profita enjoyed a record-setting day, notching three goals to become Warren Hills' all-time leader as the Blue Streaks cruised to a 7-0 win over Summit in the Group 3 semifinals at Johnson Regional High School in Clark.

Warren Hills (22-2), which recently claimed its 13th sectional title, will meet nemesis Ocean City (22-1) for the fourth straight year in the Group 3 final at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Raiders advanced with a 5-2 win over Moorestown in the other semifinal.

The Streaks claimed their first state championship -- and the first in any female sport at the Warren County school -- with a 5-4 win in overtime against the Raiders in the 2014 state final at Bordentown High School.

"Ever since the first day of preseason, we knew we could get back here," senior back Rachel Phillips said after the Streaks' sectional final victory.

Ocean City holds a 5-1 edge in Group 3 finals meetings against Warren Hills, which ended an eight-game skid in finals last year and will be making its 10th championship appearance since its first in 1996. Ocean City also denied the Blue Streaks' title bids in 1999, 2001, '09 and '12. Only Eastern (18), Moorestown (16), West Essex (16), Shore Regional (14) and Shawnee (11) have won more state titles than Ocean City (9), which has reached 11 finals in its storied history.

Profita, with 79 career goals, surpassed Sydney Muntone's total of 77 set from 2011-14. Profita, who has a single-season record 40 goals to go with 25 assists for a school record 105 points, is just three points shy of becoming the Streaks' career leader in that category (Muntone is tops with 211).

Sophomore forward Rebecca Sigman added a goal, while senior forward Megan Thompson had a goal and two assists for Warren Hills, which has outscored its four postseason opponents by a combined 20-0 and is now 71-38 all-time in postseason matchups. Junior goalie Jackie deRaismes made four saves for her 13th shutout.

In addition to Warren Hills, Bridgewater-Raritan will represent the Skyland Conference on Saturday when the Panthers meet powerhouse Eastern for the 11th straight year in the Group 4 final at 6 p.m. Eastern (23-0) won the previous 10 meetings against Bridgewater (22-2), which won a 4-1 decision over Montclair in the Group 4 semis, including a 7-0 victory in last year's title game.

Braves fall in Group 1

Shore Regional 5, Newton 1 -- Senior forward Emily Weiss scored the tying goal early in the first half, but the Braves dropped a second straight meeting with defending Group 1 champion Shore in the semifinal nightcap at Johnson Regional.

Weiss knotted the score at 1 about 10 minutes into the first half before Shore (21-4) reeled off two more goals for a 3-1 lead at the break. Shore will face Haddonfield for the Group 1 title on Saturday.

Newton, which claimed its second straight North 1, Group 1 title to reach the state semis, finishes its season at 18-2-2. The Braves were bidding for their second state finals appearance and first since 1984. Last year, coach Lisa Bechtel's team dropped a 2-0 decision to Shore here in the Group 1 semifinals. Sussex County teams have reached the finals 11 times, with Vernon winning the county's last title in 1996.

Newton will return several starting juniors next season, including midfielder Natalie Rivas, who led the team in scoring with 22 goals and nine assists.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Field hockey: HWS schedule for Nov. 9-14

Wednesday, Nov. 11

NJSIAA playoffs

(State semifinals at Johnson Regional)

Group 1

Newton vs. Shore Regional, 6 p.m.

Group 3

Warren Hills vs. Summit, 4 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 14

NJSIAA playoffs

(Group championships at Bordentown)

Group 1

Shore vs. Haddonfield, 10 a.m.


Oak Knoll vs. Bishop Eustace, noon

Group 2

Madison vs. Wall, 2 p.m.

Group 3

Warren Hills vs. Ocean City, 4 p.m.

Group 4

Bridgewater-Raritan vs. Eastern, 6 p.m.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Field hockey: Streaks roll to title; Vikes fall in final

WASHINGTON TWP. -- Expectations being what they are, Warren Hills' field hockey team enjoyed a modest celebration following a 4-0 win over Mendham in the North 1, Group 3 sectional final on Friday at Warren Hills School District Stadium.

The top-seeded Blue Streaks (21-2) cruised to their fourth straight sectional title and the program's 13th overall, but becoming accustomed to winning and staying focused on the bigger prize took hold during the postgame gathering on the turf.

"We take it one game at a time, but the second this game is over, we're on to the next game," said outstanding senior back Rachel Phillips, who is part of just the third group of seniors in the program to win four straight sectional crowns as Warren Hills also did it from 1999-02 and 2000-03.

Warren Hills poses with the North 1, Group 3 championship trophy.
"That's what keeps us motivated."

The next one for Warren Hills in its bid for back-to-back state titles comes on Wednesday when it meets North 2 champion Summit in the Group 3 semifinals at 4 p.m. at Johnson Regional. The winner advances to next Saturday's championship game at Bordentown High School. Last year, the Streaks beat nemesis Ocean City for their first state title.

Ocean City will meet Moorestown in the other Group 3 semifinal.

But first, Warren Hills needed to stay focused on winning the sectional title and beating a good Mendham team that only had two other losses to state-ranked Madison and, with eight starting seniors, played the Streaks tough in a 2-1 loss at home in last year's North 2, Group 3 final.

Making it even sweeter was this group of seniors playing their final game at home and getting to hoist another championship trophy after having to win it on the road in 2014.

"It feels really good," said senior midfielder Katie Thompson, who scored both goals in last year's 2-1 victory over Mendham. "This was our last home game so it's very special. We don't want to have any letdowns. We need to keep it going."

Junior forward Dani Profita inched closer to the all-time goals record at Warren Hills, opening the scoring with 11:04 left in the first half when she connected for her single-season record 37th goal off a feed from Rebecca Sigman, whose initial shot kicked out to Profita on the right post. Profita, who now has 76 career goals, needs two to surpass Sydney Muntone's mark of 77 from 2011-14.

Thompson made it 2-0 with her 16th goal of the season with 7:24 left before halftime -- off a nice crossing pass from Profita on a penalty corner. After a back-and-forth affair for most of the first half, the flood gates seemed poised to be open.

Turns out, a stellar goal-line save by sophomore Mikayla Dugan probably had as much to do with sending Warren Hills rolling to another title as the offense. Mendham (18-3) seemingly had its first goal of the game when Dugan dropped her stick near the line and stopped a sure goal that could have turned the momentum.

Instead, Warren Hills came roaring in the second half as Sigman's goal just 2:20 in all but sealed the victory. Senior forward Megan Thompson capped the scoring with her 18th goal off a third assist by Profita, who with 23 trails only Niki Miller (29) on the single-season list. Profita's 201 career points are second only to Muntone's 211.

"We need to be offensive-minded and after the first half, we picked it up on the offensive end," said Thompson, whose team finished with a 9-2 edge in shots-on-goal.

Phillips anchored a defense that didn't yield a shot-on-goal in the second half and was able to thwart three penalty corners in the second 30-minute half.

"It's all about communication," Phillips said. "We work really well together. That was an amazing save by Mikayla Dugan. We know where we need to be and she was at the right spot at the right time."

South Hunterdon still holds the Skyland Conference mark for sectional titles with 14, while Hunterdon Central and Warren Hills are next with 13.

Mendham (18-3)                          0                  0              --    0
Warren Hills (21-2)                      2                  2              --    4


First half -- WH, Dani Profita, 37th, (Rebecca Sigman), 11:04; WH, Katie Thompson, 16th, (Profita), 7:24.

Second half -- WH, Sigman, 18th, (Profita), 28:40; WH, Megan Thompson, 18th, (Profita), 26:03.

Shots -- Mendham 2; Warren Hills 9.

Saves -- Morgan Turner 5 (M); Jackie de Raismes 1, Mikayla Dugan 1 (defensive) (WH).

Penalty corners -- Mendham 6; Warren Hills 7.

North 2, Group 2

Madison 3, Voorhees 2 -- Senior forward Kathryn Roncoroni scored a pair of goals, but it wasn't enough for second-seeded Voorhees (18-5), which was bidding for its first sectional title since 2006.

Roncoroni, who is heading to American University next fall, concluded a stellar career that saw her claim all but one offensive record in Voorhees' fine field hockey history. She finishes with single-season records for goals (51) and points (116), along with career marks for goals (140) and points (319). Coach Taylor Webb still owns the Vikes' record for career assists (58 from 1999-02).

Junior midfielder Hannah Schiavo had one assist in the loss to top-seeded Madison, which claimed its 14th sectional title and second in a row.

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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Field hockey: Vikes, Blue Streaks advance to finals

As expected, both Voorhees and Warren Hills got past their sectional semifinal tests on Wednesday.

That makes it five teams from the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area still competing for sectional championships on Thursday and Friday.

Newton (North 1, Group 1), South Hunterdon (North 2, Group 1) and Hunterdon Central (North 2, Group 4) also won their semifinal matchups on Tuesday.

North 2, Group 2

Voorhees 2, South Plainfield 1 (OT2) -- Senior midfielder Isabelle Houser connected on the game-winner off a feed from junior midfielder Hannah Schiavo on a penalty corner as the second-seeded Vikings (18-4) beat the third-seeded Tigers to advance to their second straight final. Senior forward Kathryn Roncoroni notched her school single-season record 49th goal to tie the score at 1 with three minutes left in regulation. Houser's goal, her fifth of the season, came three minutes into the second OT.

Voorhees, seeking its first sectional title since 2006, will next travel to No. 1 Madison on Friday. Coach Taylor Webb's Vikes, who fell, 2-1, in OT at Madison on Sept. 24, claimed the program's 603rd win to reach its 19th sectional final, after dropping a 1-0 decision in overtime to Summit in last year's title game. Voorhees recorded No. 600 with an 8-0 victory over Somerville on Oct. 15. The Vikes' 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th and 500th wins also were shutouts.

North 1, Group 3

Warren Hills 7, Montville 0 -- Junior forward Dani Profita scored three goals and added an assist as the top-seeded Blue Streaks (20-2) inched closer to a 13th sectional title and fourth in a row with a rout in the semifinals. Profita, with a single-season school record of 36 goals and 92 points, became the third player in school history to notch 20 assists in a season, joining Sydney Muntone and Katie Thompson, who did it in 2014. Niki Miller holds the record with 29 in 2012. Warren Hills will host No. 2 Mendham on Friday in the sectional final, the 17th overall for the Warren County school, in a rematch of last year's North 2, Group 3 title game won by the Streaks, 2-1.

Warren Hills is 3-0 all-time against Mendham in the postseason, including a 2-0 win in 1982 and an 8-1 victory in 2011. The Morris County school has won two sectional titles -- 1975 and '93.

North 1, Group 2

Ramsey 2, Hackettstown 0 -- Goalie Rose Bishop made 14 saves, but it wasn't enough as the third-seeded Tigers fell in the North 1, Group 2 semifinals. Hackettstown ends its season at 14-3-1. Junior forward Molly Gorczyca (31 goals) was held without a goal or an assist for just the fourth time this season.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Field hockey: Newton, South Hunterdon reach finals

Junior midfielder Natalie Rivas scored a pair of goals to lead top-seeded Newton to a 2-1 win over No. 4 Belvidere on Tuesday in the North 1, Group 1 semifinals at Palmer Field.

The Braves (17-1-2), who are seeking their second straight sectional championship, will host No. 2 Pompton Lakes in the final on Thursday at 1 p.m. Kittatinny dropped a 2-1 decision to Pompton Lakes in the other semifinal, as the Cougars finished their season at 8-9-1.

Rivas leads Newton with 22 goals for the season. Kara Tipton scored the goal for the County Seaters (12-7-2), who also dropped a 1-0 decision to the Braves on Sept. 14.

Eagles fly into final

State ranked Shore Regional will take on South Hunterdon in the North 2, Group 1 final on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. South (12-8) earned a 1-0 win over Henry Hudson in the semifinals on Tuesday. The Eagles, who have won four straight, are seeking the program's 15th sectional title and first since 2002.

Shore ended Newton's season a year ago with a 2-0 win in the Group 1 semifinals.

The winners in North 1 and 2 will meet in the Group 1 semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at a neutral site to be determined.

Red Devils earn rematch

Junior midfielder Nikki Freeman scored three goals to lead No. 2 seeded Hunterdon Central to a 4-3 win over Princeton in the North 2, Group 4 semifinals. Sophomore midfielder Brittany Bill also had a goal to send the Red Devils (17-5) to a sectional final rematch against top-seeded Bridgewater, a 2-0 winner in last year's title game, on Thursday at 11 a.m.

Central has dropped two meetings with Bridgewater this season -- 3-0 on Oct. 1 and 3-2 on Oct. 22 -- as the Panthers won the Skyland Conference Delaware Division title. Bridgewater has won 10 straight sectional titles and finished as the Group 4 runner-up behind Eastern in all of those seasons. The Red Devils, who have won 13 sectional titles, are 8-22-2 against Bridgewater during coach Jenn Sponzo's 17 seasons and have lost seven straight meetings since a 2-1 win in 2013.

Blue Streaks primed for title run

Warren Hills began defense of its Group 3 title with a 2-0 win over Roxbury in the North 1, Group 3 quarterfinals on Monday. Senior forward Megan Thompson, who just returned to the lineup after sustaining a concussion on Oct. 17, scored a pair of goals.

The Blue Streaks (19-2), who saw their 16-game win streak snapped with a 2-1 loss to state power West Essex last Thursday, will host No. 4 seed Montville in the sectional semifinals on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Junior forward Dani Profita who owns single-season records for goals (33) and points (85), is closing in on several other Warren Hills milestones. Profita is tied with Lindsey Schott for second place on the career goals list with 72, and is needs six to surpass Sydney Muntone's total of 77. With 189 career points, Profita trails just Muntone (211) and Schott (198).

Also on Wednesday, Hackettstown travels to Ramsey in the North 1, Group 2 semifinals, while Voorhees hosts South Plainfield in the North 2, Group 2 semis.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Field hockey: HWS schedule for Nov. 2-7

Monday, Nov. 2

NJSIAA playoffs

North 1, Group 3

Roxbury at Warren Hills in quarterfinals, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 3

NJSIAA playoffs 

(All semifinals, 2 p.m., unless noted)

North 1, Group 1

Belvidere at Newton, 5 p.m.
Kittatinny at Pompton Lakes

North 2, Group 1

South Hunterdon at Henry Hudson

North 2, Group 4

Princeton at Hunterdon Central, 4:30 p.m.

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Sparta at Morris Hills, 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 4

NJSIAA playoffs 

(All semifinals, 2 p.m.)

North 1, Group 2

Hackettstown at Ramsey

North 2, Group 2

South Plainfield at Voorhees

North 1, Group 3

Montville at Warren Hills

Thursday, Nov. 5

NJSIAA playoffs 

(Sectional finals)

North 1, Group 1

Pompton Lakes at Newton, 1 p.m.

North 2, Group 1

South Hunterdon at Shore, 12:30 p.m.

North 2, Group 4

Hunterdon Central at Bridgewater, 11 a.m.

Friday, Nov. 6

NJSIAA playoffs 

(Sectional finals, 2:30 p.m., unless noted)

North 1, Group 3

Mendham at Warren Hills

North 2, Group 2

Voorhees at Madison, 10 a.m.