By Bill Iezzi
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Two of the top field hockey teams in South Jersey are scheduled to clash Friday afternoon.
Shawnee, ranked No. 3 by The Inquirer, is set to host No. 2 Washington Township in a battle that should be close and low-scoring.
“It will be a great game,” Shawnee coach Renee Phelps said. “There will be two highly skilled, highly competitive [artificial] turf teams playing. Two weeks before the playoffs, this is important to both teams. We might see each other again.”
Shawnee, which leads the Olympic Conference Patriot Division, moved up from Group 3 to Group 4 this season.
Washington Township, second to Eastern in the Olympic American, has been in Group 4 since it was created.
“The key factor in the game is who controls the midfield,” Township coach Jeannine O’Connor said. “Whoever I have at center midfielder, Lisa [Patrone] or Laura [Rose], will have to play one of her best games this season.”
Emily Strong, Shawnee’s center mid, is one of the best at the position in the area.
Defensively, both teams are solid, which should keep the scoring in check.
Goalies Brianna Shea and Casey Rozmes have been splitting time in the cage for the Township Minutemaids, who have 11 shutouts.
For Shawnee, junior Marlee Silverstein, senior Katie Burke, and freshman Elina Pereira have combined for a half-dozen shutouts.
Seniors Patrone and Sarah Jackson have been leading Township in scoring, while junior Becky Stiles, sophomore Nicole Trost, and junior Katie Cahill have been the most productive players for the Renegades.
In an interesting turn, Patrone and Rose will be teammates with Strong next fall at Rutgers.
Last year, Township hosted the game and trailed, 2-0, at intermission. However, the Minutemaids roared back for a 3-2 victory.