OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City High School girls soccer team handed Oakcrest its first loss of the season with a 1-0 win Wednesday in a Cape-Atlantic League National Division game.
Natale Stinson had the heroics for Ocean City, scoring the winning goal in the first half.
Ocean City entered its match against Oakcrest on Wednesday with just one loss. The Red Raiders, No. 10 in the Press Elite 11, suffered that lone defeat on Sept. 13 at the hands of the same Falcons team, adding drama to an already intense midseason meeting between two division rivals.
Ocean City won eight consecutive games since then, but that loss erased a perfect 2-0 start and left the Red Raiders wanting redemption.
The Falcons, No. 8 in the Press Elite 11, entered the contest without a loss, though their first game of the season against Cedar Creek ended in a draw. They had a 10-game winning streak heading into Wednesday.
It was easy to imagine the playoff-like atmosphere that unfolded between the Red Raiders and the Falcons. Both teams displayed tremendous effort and proved why they are postseason-worthy.
“The last game against them we really got outplayed,” Ocean City coach Kelly Halliday said. “They gave us our first and only loss, so we wanted it bad tonight.”
The Red Raiders improved to 11-1 and are in first place in the National Division.
“It feels awesome,” Stinson said. “It was a hard loss in the beginning of the season, so we really wanted to beat them this time.”
“We knew what was expected and were hyped up for this game.”
Ocean City came out strong to start the game, creating an overwhelming amount of offensive pressure and outshooting Oakcrest 8-4 in the first half.
After multiple attempts, Stinson finally scored on an unassisted shot in the 31st minute, and the Red Raiders never looked back. Abbey Fenton made seven saves in the shutout.
“I think we were the better team tonight,” Halliday said. “I am so happy we came out on top.”
Oakcrest started the second half by delivering two shots on net in the opening minutes. But that flame quickly faded as the Red Raiders regained control, adding four more shots to their total.
Brielle Smith made 11 saves for the Falcons.
“We started out flat,” Oakcrest coach Jason Hearn said. “I think the pressure of this season has these girls having high expectations for themselves and getting behind may have been a little too much.”
Hearn added that the Falcons’ season thus far has been the best in program history, and one loss doesn’t take away from their accomplishments.
Oakcrest is now looking ahead to Friday as it plays Absegami, another divisional matchup.
“We have a lot of more wins to get and a lot more to achieve,” Hearn said. “We just need to refocus.”
Ocean City next plays Middle Township on Friday with the pressure of being the top team in its division. But that doesn’t stress the Red Raiders in the slightest as they will keep plugging away.
“We just have to take it one game at a time,” Halliday said. “We have to keep playing our best.”
Oakcrest 0 0—0
Ocean City 1 0—1
Goalies— Fenton (4) OC; Smith (10) O.
Records— OC 11-1; O 10-1-1.
Contact: 609-272-7210 PMulranen@pressofac.com