EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Goalie Brianna Magner and her Egg Harbor Township High School field hockey teammates turned the dream of beating Ocean City into a reality Monday.
Egg Harbor Township, ranked ninth in The Press Elite 11, won the game 2-0 on the football field to keep first place in the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference. The Eagles are 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the conference. Ocean City, the conference champion 16 straight years, is 5-3 (5-2). The Red Raiders are ranked seventh in the Elite 11.
Magner made nine saves for her fourth shutout of the season, including one shared.
"I've been dreaming about this," said Magner, a 17-year-old senior. "When the final buzzer went off and we won, I couldn't describe the feeling."
Until this season, O.C. hadn't lost an American Conference game since 2007, but now has lost to Mainland Regional (2-1 on Sept. 20) and to EHT. The Red Raiders had beaten EHT in each game since a tie in 2007.
"It's a milestone for our program," EHT coach Jen Costa said. "It's always good to win, but to beat Ocean City is special. It's one of the games you talk about it at summer practices. I texted our players this morning and said, 'You have nine hours to think about what you have to do to beat this team.' It feels really good and I'm happy for my girls."
The teams played a back-and-forth first half, but EHT's Morgan Snodgrass scored to make it 1-0 from 4 yards out on the right side with 1 minute, 18 seconds to go before halftime. Lauren Angello assisted. Snodgrass has six goals on the season.
"I was jumping up and down to celebrate after I scored," said Snodgrass, a 17-year-old senior who will play for NCAA Division II two-time defending national champion West Chester University next year. "I thought I won the Super Bowl."
Mackenzie Meyer got the ball at midfield in the second half and took it all the way downfield. She beat O.C. goalie Sarita Charap from 4 yards out with 17:56 left in the game. Meyer tops the Eagles with 14 goals on the season.
"We've all be dreaming about this for the last seven years," said Meyer, a 17-year-old senior who will play for the University of Delaware next year. "We were more intense in the game, and the defense really stepped up. We've been saying from the beginning that it's our year to win everything."
The Egg Harbor Township team had a bonfire rally at Meyer's house Sunday night.
Ocean City had a least as many chances as EHT, but defender Courtney Richard and her teammates on the back line kept the Red Raiders from getting a lot of close shots.
"We wanted to play a basic, intense game and not try to overthink," said Richard, another 17-year-old senior.
Ocean City was 21-1 last year and won the program's eighth state championship. But so far, things haven't been the same this fall. The Red Raiders lost to Camden Catholic 6-2 on Saturday.
To make matters worse, O.C. midfielder April Stein injured her ankle early in the second half and did not return.
"Right now, we don't have the chemistry," Ocean City coach Cory Terry said. "We'll have to try different things. I believe we dominated field play, but we're not scoring. We have so many creative efforts, but we're not finishing. We're not scoring, and the other (teams are) getting into the circle and producing when we're not.
"Egg Harbor Township played a hard, strong game, and shot the big ball downfield. Their strategy was to go hard and put the ball in the cage."
Ocean City out-cornered EHT 12-4, but it was the Eagles who nearly scored late in the game. Charap made three big saves and another shot by Snodgrass went off the right post.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Ocean City 0 0-0
Egg Harbor Township 1 1-2
Goals-Snodgrass, Meyer EHT.
Goalies-Charap (7) OC. Magner (9) EHT.
Records-O.C. 5-3, EHT 7-0.