HAMMONTON — With two of his starters out injured, St. Joseph High School field hockey coach John DeMarco wasn’t sure how things would go against archrival Hammonton High School on Wednesday.
The unbeaten St. Joe team, ranked 10th in The Press Elite 11, put DeMarco’s mind at ease soon enough by taking a three-goal lead in the first half. Visiting Hammonton did better in the second half but couldn’t catch up and St. Joseph breezed to a 6-2 win.
Junior Emily DeMarco, John DeMarco’s daughter, scored a first-half goal and finished with a hat trick. Teammate Molly Mullee, another junior, scored the first and third goals of the game. DeMarco and Mullee each have 12 goals this year.
“When you get up by that many goals, you can’t relax, but it’s a good feeling,” John DeMarco said. “In recent years, our offense has centered on one person, but this year if you double-team one of our players, someone else will score. We’re really balanced this year, and it’s nice as a coach to have that.”
St. Joseph, a team with high expectations, is 9-0 overall and 7-0 in the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference. St. Joe is running away with the conference lead because all the other teams have at least three National losses. Hammonton is 6-3 and 5-3 in the conference.
The Wildcats were missing senior Gina Smith, who sustained a knee injury Tuesday in gym class, and sophomore Gina Umosella, who sustained a concussion on Sept. 19 in a 5-1 over Buena Regional.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but Gab Dudo and Ryan Quicksill, who
came in for them, both have varsity experience,” DeMarco said. “We all practice together, and don’t split our practices up by starters and substitutes. Everyone practices with everyone, so you’re always practicing with starters.
Senior Smith, a team leader on offense and defense for four years, will get a doctor’s examination in the next couple days.
“I was wondering how things would go today without Gina Smith,” John DeMarco said. “She’s a four-year starter and the girls tend to relax in front of her, knowing that she’s behind them.”
Mullee deflected a drive by Emily DeMarco into the net for the first goal midway through the first half. DeMarco took the ball into the circle and scored to make it 2-0 with 10 minutes, 13 seconds left in the half.
St. Joe added a crucial goal 17 seconds before halftime. There was a scramble in front of the Hammonton net and the ball got behind Blue Devils goalie Jennifer Plummer. Mullee got a stick on it and poked it in for a 3-0 lead and the Wildcats were cruising.
“We definitely stepped it up today,” said Mullee, a 16-year-old junior from Sicklerville in Gloucester Township. “With-out two of our starters we had to keep up the intensity. We’re doing really well so far this year. We’re growing as a team and improving game by game.”
DeMarco scored the team’s fourth goal 6:37 into the second half. She added the final St. Joe goal with 8:25 left to make it 6-1. Freshman Carlina Sacco had St. Joe’s other goal.
“We worked great as a team today,” said Emily DeMarco, 16, a Hammonton resident. “(Goalie) Becky (Boffo) had a great game. She controlled the whole defense and talked with everyone. The offense stepped up and put all those goals in.”
Boffo had seven saves, including three straight on a Hammonton corner with the score 2-0 late in the first half.
Hammonton’s Camille Maimone cut the lead to 4-1 after a pass from Courtney Aquino. The game’s final goal was by Aquino in close with 6:42 left. She leads the area with 16 goals.
“We had a lot of basic things we didn’t do right,” said Hammonton coach Rosie Santiago. “We need to help each other more on the field and back each other up. We need to come out more aggressive against St. Joe, and the girls don’t realize that. Overall we played aggressive, but not as much as usual.”
Contact Guy Gargan:
Hammonton 0 2—2
St. Joseph 3 6—6
Goals—Maimone, Aquino H. DeMarco (3), Mullee (2), Sacco SJ.
Goalies—Plummer (13) H. Boffo (7) SJ.
Records—St. Joseph 9-0; Hammonton 6-3.