The Bishop Eustace field hockey team had the No. 1 team in South Jersey, and possibly the state, on the ropes Thursday and let them off.
Eustace was leading Eastern, 3-1 at imtermission and lost, 4-3. But that did not dissuade Crusaders' coach Krissy Holak from praising her players.
"They got us on corners and that's what they do," Holak said of Eastern's 17 penalty corners, three of which it scored on. "They're good at creating them.
"It's not anything to fault my defense; they're just taught very well by Danyle [Heilig]," Eastern's head coach.
"My defense with Alessandra [Farnesi] and Sarah [Furey] and Montana [Fleming] and AP [Alex Pecora] and Nicole Lankford, these are kids that are returning players from a state championship team."
Eustace is the defending Group 2 state champ while Eastern is the Group 4 state titlist and perennial New Jersey trophy winner.
Eastern eliminated Eustace, 7-1, from the semifinal round of the Tournament of Champions last November.
"Losing to them 7-1 and now 4-3 says a lot about my kids," Holak said.