MILLVILLE — The highly competitive Cape-Atlantic League American Conference field hockey race got even tighter Monday as Mainland Regional and Millville tied 1-1 in a matchup of unbeaten teams.
Mainland is ranked No. 7 in The Press Elite 11, Millville No. 8.
Mainland scored first as Brianna Barretta took a pass from Paige Care and flicked a reverse-stick shot into the right corner 4 minutes, 56 seconds into the game.
Millville tied it at 1-1 with 16:55 left in regulation when freshman Casey Etter scored, also on a reverse stick into the right corner. Teammate Jorja Hibshman took a pass upfield from Hailei Markee and sent a feed to Etter at the stroke line.
The game had one 10-minute, 7-on-7 overtime, and both teams had chances to win. Mainland goalie Michaela Brady, who split time with Jenna Bongiovanni, made two saves in overtime. Millville keeper Michelle Errickson had four saves, including three key stops in the second half.
“We knew it would be a hard game to win,” Mainland coach Jill Hatz said. “We knew that we’d have to play one of our best games on their field. Both teams were really strong defensively.”
Mainland is 4-0-1, with all its games in the CAL American. Millville is 6-0-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the conference.
“The talent of the two teams (Millville and Mainland) is so close that on any given day one could win,” Millville coach Claudia McCarthy said. “It was hard for us because they scored first. We were down at halftime, and we had to score. Both teams had chances in overtime.”
Ocean City, which has won the American Conference 20 straight years (including two shared championships) lost to Mainland 2-1 on Sept. 11, sending the conference into a scramble. The Red Raiders are ranked ninth.
“A lot of teams are going for the top spot in the conference, and that’s going to make everyone play a little bit harder,” Hatz said.
Barretta, a senior forward, scored her fourth goal of the season, and Care got her fourth assist.
“We got the goal quickly, and that’s one thing we always try to do,” said Barretta, a 17-year-old Somers Point resident. “Then we had trouble scoring again. “I think everyone has a shot in the conference. I think we can get better and this game will help us.”
Etter, McCarthy’s granddaughter and the younger sister of former Thunderbolts standout Corrine Etter, scored her sixth goal of the year. Hibschman got her seventh assist.
“We went in really wanting to win, and we played well as a team,” said Etter, a 14-year-old Millville resident. “Every time we got down the field, we had opportunties, but when we finally scored, that was an exciting moment.”
Millville travels to Absegami on Wednesday and plays at Ocean City on Sept. 26 at Trish LeFever Field. Mainland hosts Egg Harbor Township on Wednesday and hosts Absegami on Sept. 26.
Ocean City’s rematch with Mainland is at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 on the artificial turf at Carey Stadium in Ocean City.
Mainland 1 0 0—1
Millville 0 1 0—1
Goals—Barretta MR; Etter MV.
Goalies—Bongiovanni (4), Brady (2) MR; Errickson (4) MV.
Records—Mainland 4-0-1; Millville 6-0-1.