OCEAN CITY - Both teams showed good ball-movement and had opportunities as the Ocean City High School girls soccer team met Millville on Tuesday at the Tennessee Avenue Soccer Complex.
All the attempts were stopped one way or another, except for one quick Ocean City goal.
Freshman Dara Hennessy scored on a rebound shot at 8 minutes, 40 seconds into the second half to give Ocean City a 1-0 victory in a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference inter-division game.
Ocean City is No. 6 in The Press Elite 11.
The play began as O.C.'s Devon Terwilliger broke down the right wing and fired a shot from 10 yards away. Millville keeper McKenzie Taylor dove to her right and made a great save, but the rebound came right out in front and Hennessy blasted it into the open net.
Hennessy, a striker, was playing only her third varsity game, and the goal was her second in varsity play.
"I was just there in case it rebounded, and it did," said Hennessy, 14, of Marmora in Upper Township. "It was pretty exciting. Millville is a good team, and I was getting pretty nervous. Our defense and goalie did a great job."
The Red Raiders improved to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the CAL American Conference. O.C.'s only loss was 4-1 to American Division II rival Hammonton on Sept. 30.
Millville, 7-3 overall, was in the Elite 11 at No. 11 last week, has now dropped three of four games. The Thunderbolts are 5-2 in the American Conference but lead Division I at 2-1.
"We didn't change our formation (after the goal), but our defense stayed strong," Ocean City's first-year Kelly Halliday said. "They were mostly shooting from the 25 and out. We had most of the possession in the first half, and had about five or six chances. Overall, we played a strong game defensively."
Ocean City goalie Meghan Kelly made five saves in the first half, and had 10 stops in the second half as Millville tried for the tying goal.
Kelly was a midfielder before this year.
"I tried playing goalie in a few scrimmages this year and I liked it," said Kelly, a 17-year-old senior from Ocean City. "Our defense really stopped a lot of shots today, but I had more shots in the second half."
Ocean City's Shannon Tarves, who stopped a breakaway in the first half, was a big part of the defense that limited Millville in the second 40 minutes. Several other Red Raiders, such as JJ Kuemmerle, Danielle Baruffi, Rosie Catanoso, Rachel Matousch, Erica Johns and Veronica Garcia, stood between Millville and a good shot on Kelly.
Millville's Brooke Mulbaier got off a good shot at the 18-yard line in the 60th minute, and Kelly made the stop. Taylor Sergiacomi fired from deep on the right side, and the O.C. goalie made the stop. Kelly also made the save on a free kick by Sergiacomi with 6:50 left to play. Nicki Read had another free kick with three minutes remaining, but booted it over the net. Millville's final attempt was by Brandy Toso from just inside the 18, and Kelly again was up to the task.
"We had a lot of opportunities, but their goalie made a lot of stops," Millville coach Brian Sloan said. "We were working the ball real well, but we need to finish. Ocean City got the break and was able to capitalize. We're not playing bad, but we've lost three out of four now (to Absegami, Middle Township and O.C.), and we have to get back on track."
Ocean City earned the 16th seed in the South Jersey Coaches Tournament and travels to top-seed Eastern on Saturday for a first-round game.
Millville plays at Vineland at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Millville 0 0 - 0
Ocean City 0 1 - 1
Goalies-Taylor (10) M. Kelly (17) OC.
Records-Millville 7-3, O.C. 7-1.