By LESLEY GRAHAM
The Ocean City High School field hockey team rolled to a 9-0 victory over visiting Lower Cape May Eagles on a blustery Tuesday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the Southeast A group.
Junior Racheli Levy-Smith led the scoring for the Red Raiders with four goals. Senior Tara McNally added three goals and an assist.
Alexis Smallwood and Carly Hanin rounded out the goal scoring for Ocean City.
Ocean City got on the scoreboard quickly with McNally finding the back of the goal off the assist from Smallwood on a corner penalty.
Less than two minutes later, Ocean City would score again, this time off the stick of Levy-Smith, her first of four on the afternoon. Andi Helphenstine would be credited with the assist.
“We came out fast today so that was good,” Ocean City Head Coach Kelsey Burke said. “We set the attacking goal of scoring early and we did just that, so I was happy.”
Ocean City would score three more times in the opening first quarter of play, twice from Levy-Smith and once from Smallwood. Lower Cape May was unable to record a shot on goal for the first quarter, with Ocean City completely controlling the pace of play and possession time.
The Red Raiders would score twice in the second quarter, taking a 7-0 lead going into halftime.
Getting on the board for the Raiders were McNally with her second of the game from Smallwood and Levy-Smith finishing her four goal game from Ella Brogan.
As the second half got underway, the sun led way to rain but Ocean City wasn’t going to let that stop them.
Ocean City continued its display of offensive prowess, chipping in their last two goals of the game. McNally would round out her hat trick and Carly Hanin would add the last goal for the Raiders on an assist from Olivia Vanesko.
With a bye in the first round of the tournament, Ocean City was able to prepare for their game with their season-long mentality of one day at a time.
Even though Lower Cape May is a conference opponent, the two met in a playoff situation.
“We only got to play Lower once this season because of a rainout so it felt a bit like a combination of conference and playoff,” said Burke.
With potentially two more games to go to play for a championship, the team’s mindset remains steadfast.
“We are lucky to be where we are with the current unknown, so we continue to be grateful for the opportunity to play,” Burke said.
The Raiders will play again on Thursday at home against familiar foe Mainland High school. Game time is slated for 2 p.m.