EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Friday's state Group III field hockey semifinal between Ocean City and Moorestown high schools had 60 minutes of thrills in regulation, and nothing was decided.
Thanks to Ocean City's Leah Davies, overtime took less than one minute.
Davies scored the winning goal from the left side 57 seconds into the first overtime, giving the Red Raiders a 3-2 victory and sending them to their first state Group III final since 2009. Ocean City, ranked third in The Press Elite 11, improved to 20-1.
The ball came to Davies from teammate Casey Hanna on the Red Raiders' first rush upfield in the extra session, and she scored from 5 yards out.
"I was on the post and Casey got it to me, and I was able to tip it in," said Davies, a 16-year-old junior from Ocean City. "It was amazing. I'm so happy. I love my team and I'm ready to go to states. I've never been there before. I've never even seen it. I'm pumped."
Ocean City will meet Warren Hills Regional at 2 p.m. Sunday for the state Group III championship at The College of New Jersey in Ewing Township. Warren Hills (20-2) defeated West Morris 6-4 on Friday in the other semifinal.
"It's exciting," said Cory Terry, Ocean City's third-year coach. "It feels like home in a way, because I know what (being in a state final) feels like as a player and an assistant coach. I guess I'm just overcome with pride in these girls. I'm so grateful to have the opportnity to work with them. I knew they had it in them, and I guess they believed me."
It was the fifth state Group III semifinal meeting between Ocean City and Moorestown. O.C. beat the Quakers 2-0 in 1999 when Terry was an Ocean City senior. The Red Raiders won on penalty strokes in 2002 and 2005. Moorestown won 2-0 in 2006.
Friday's game was played on the artificial turf football field at Egg Harbor Township High School.
"We expected a back-and-forth game," Terry said. "Moorestown plays on turf a lot and they have some skilled players. I thought we struggled playing our game at times, but the girls worked hard and were persistent. It was persistence and perseverence that won it for us."
Moorestown's Jess Dadino scored less than two minutes into the game, off an Alex O'Donnell assist. But O.C.'s Paige Broadley tied it from the left side at 1-1 three minutes later, after a crossfield pass by Davies.
Ocean City went up 2-1 in the 14th minute as Kelly Hanna, Casey's sister, tipped in a shot at the left post. Lauren McNally assisted.
The Quakers tied it when Alexa Massa scored 2 minutes, 55 seconds into the second half on a penalty stroke. Massa sent a roller into the right corner.
It could have been worse for O.C. The Red Raiders had two players yellow-carded for tackling late in the first half, both in the same half-minute. That put the team two players short for about the last five minutes of the half, but the Quakers couldn't get a goal.
Ocean City came closest to scoring during that time when Jacquie Fenton took a penalty stroke. But Moorestown goalie Laya Mallella made the save as Fenton shot high to the left corner.
O.C. senior goalie Katie Johnson, who rarely gets tested in Cape-Atlantic League games, helped to keep her team in it with 14 saves.
"I've had a lot of practice that's kept me going, and that's what makes perfect," said Johnson, a 17-year-old Ocean City resident. "They make sure I'm ready, and I was. My teammates are great shooters, and there's a great group of coaches (all former standout players) warming me up before a game. No one hits as hard as them."
Moorestown, a state finalist last year and ranked sixth in The Press Elite 11, finished 19-3.
"Ocean City has a tremendous program and a wonderful field hockey tradition," Moorestown coach Ali Collins said. "They have some fabulous athletes out there. I'm just so proud of my team for playing a beautiful game. Unfortunately we came out on the wrong end. The game was indicative of how great field hockey is in South Jersey.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Moorestown 1 1 0-2
Ocean City 2 0 1-3
Goals-Dadino, Massa M. Broadley, K. Hanna, Davies OC.
Goalies-Mallela (6) M. Johnson (14) OC.
Records-O.C. 20-1; Moorestown 19-3.