Lexi Magruder's late goal gives Egg Harbor Township's girls soccer team its first playoff win

Millville’s Mallory Chamberlain, left, fights for the ball with Egg Harbor Township’s Amber Jenkins during their playoff game Tuesday in Egg Harbor Township.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Overtime seemed inevitable as the Egg Harbor Township and Millville high school girls soccer teams continually stopped each others' chances in their South Jersey Group IV first-round game.

But finally a shot got through in the 75th minute.

Egg Harbor Township freshman forward Lexi Magruder booted a 25-yarder that found net just under the crossbar and the Eagles won it 1-0 on Tuesday.

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It was the first playoff win in the history of EHT's 16-year program. The game was on the artificial turf of the EHT football field.

Millville beat Egg Harbor Township 2-1 and 4-3 in their two regular-season meetings.

"It was a tight game, but I expected us to win," said Magruder, 14. "I knew we could finish. The third time (against Millville) was a charm."

Magruder was in the middle of the field 25 yards out when she blasted the shot that surprised Millville goalie McKenzie Taylor with 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in regulation.

"I got a loose ball and made a move to the right when (a defender) started coming toward me, and hit it in," Magruder said. "It was a relief to get the goal."

EHT (8-8-1), the eighth seed, advanced to play a South Jersey quarterfinal game against top-seeded Eastern (21-1-1), the No. 1 team in The Press Elite 11, probably on Monday. Millville, the ninth seed, ends its season at 10-7-1. EHT accumulated a number of power points with wins over Hammonton, Williamstown and Middle Township before the tournament cutoff date.

Magruder has six goals on the season, including all five in EHT's games against Millville.

"She really has their number," said Christian Wiech, Egg Harbor Township's first-year coach.

Egg Harbor Township went 10 years without a playoff appearance, and the last five years lost in the first round.

"It's a step in the right direction, especially since we have some young, exciting players," Wiech said.

"We're pretty even with Millville, and they're very well-coached. We knew it would be a battle today, but this time we got the result. In the second half, we had good possession of the ball and had good endurance. We kept the ball on the ground. It's a testament to our girls and their confidence in themselves."

Both team had their chances, but the Eagles seemed to have more in the second half. EHT goalie Antonia Maffia recorded the shutout with nine saves, and Millville keeper Taylor had 13 saves.

"I guess we're pretty even with them, but I knew they wouldn't beat us a third time," said EHT's Carley Pappas, a 16-year-old junior defender.

The game was quite a contrast from the two teams' last meeting on Oct. 25, which had seven goals.

"Anytime there's a playoff game the mood is different," said Millville coach Brian Sloan. "You're more focused on what you have to do. We were a little flat from a week off, but then we started playing better.

"We knew she (Magruder) was a threat up front. Our defense did a great job. Their main concern was stopping through-balls and shots. They got a shot off that our keeper didn't see, unfortunately."

Eastern beat EHT 6-0 on Sept. 29.

"We're going into the game confident and we won't change our playing style," Wiech said. "We'll try to win every battle (for the ball). I told the girls that if you win enough battles, you win the 80-minute war."

Contact Guy Gargan:


Millville 0 0-0

Egg Harbor Township 0 1-1

Goal-Magruder EHT.

Goalies-Taylor (13) Maffia (9) EHT.

Records-EHT 8-8-1; M 10-7-1.

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