St. Joseph wins South Jersey Group I field hockey title

St. Joseph players, left to right, Gab Dudo, Molly Mullee, Gina Umosella, Emily DeMarco and Marielena Dottoli celebrate their win over Glassboro in the South Jersey Group I championship game Wednesday.

HAMMONTON - St. Joseph High School's Emily DeMarco shook off defenders enough times to get off several blistering drives against Glassboro in their South Jersey Group I field hockey championship game Wednesday.

Three of DeMarco's shots ended up in the net, including two that were tipped in by teammate Marielena Dottoli, and St. Joseph beat Glassboro 3-0.

The other shot was DeMarco's area-leading 39th goal of the season. Dottoli has 18 goals.

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The top-seeded Wildcats, ranked ninth in The Press Elite 11, improved to 22-1. Glassboro, the No. 2 seed, finished 12-8.

The win gave St. Joseph the fourth South Jersey Group I title in the 42-year program's history. The others came in 2003, '05 and '10. The Wildcats have made the S.J. Group I final 10 of the past 11 years.

"I did have more than one player on me, but that's why there's 10 others on a team," said DeMarco, a 16-year-old junior from Hammonton and the daughter of coach John DeMarco. "We see each other great, and we worked together and came out with the 'W.' We played amazing as a whole."

St. Joseph now will meet Maple Shade, the Central Jersey Group I champion, in a state semifinal game Friday at a site and time to be determined. Maple Shade (16-4) edged Haddon Heights 2-1 in overtime Wednesday in the Central Jersey final.

"Every time you win the South Jersey championship it's the same, but they're different faces," John DeMarco said. "Everyone brings something diferent. I told the team in the preseason that if they pull together they could do some special things."

The game was scoreless until 20 minutes, 34 seconds were gone in the first half. DeMarco blasted a shot from the top of the circle that Dottoli tipped past the goalie to make it 1-0. The same play would be repeated with 1:45 left in the game as the Wildcats clinched it at 3-0.

"Marielena scored two great goals," John DeMarco said. "They've practiced it and practiced it, and that just goes to show that repetition pays off."

DeMarco, a two-time Press first-team All-Star, was a starter on the 2010 team that reached the state Group I final for the first time in the program's history. Dottoli was a substitute on that team.

"It was more exciting this time," said Dottoli, a 16-year-old junior from Waterford in Camden County. "It's awesome to be part of it. Being in the championship game, and to win it, is great."

Glassboro was an underdog but played the Wildcats pretty even for most of the game after giving up the first goal. The Bulldogs were led by Rachal Toppi, who kept pushing the ball forward and had some good chances.

Toppi had two shots in the first minute of the second half. St. Joseph goalie Becky Boffo made a stop on Toppi at the left side. The ball came out of the zone, but Toppi brought it back in and sent a reverse stick shot that went off the left post.

DeMarco nearly made it 2-0 about 10 minutes into the second half as she fired one that went off the right post.

DeMarco finally removed some of the suspense by scoring with 3:49 left to play. With no defenders in front of her, she fired a high shot from the right side that went into the left corner of the net.

Glassboro beat St. Joseph in the South Jersey championship in 2007and '08.

"I'm really pleased with our team's performance," Glassboro coach Gloria Byard said. "They showed a lot of heart and gave it their all. We only have two club players, Rachal (Toppi) and Becky (Guinto), and we don't have a lot of experience."

Boffo made eight saves for her 13th shutout of the season. Natalie Dickol had five saves for Glassboro.

The game also marked the return of St. Joseph senior Gina Smith, a two-time Press first-team All-Star defender who played part-time at forward Wednesday. Smith had been out with a bruised knee since Sept. 30.

Contact Guy Gargan:


Glassboro 0 0-0

St. Joseph 1 2-3

Goals-Dottoli (2), DeMarco SJ.

Goalies-Dickol (5) G. Boffo (8) SJ..

Records-St. Joseph 22-1; Glassboro 12-8.

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