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The St. Joseph High School field hockey team earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs behind a steady and explosive offense, a stingy defense and an undefeated regular-season record.

Although No. 2 Bishop Eustace didn’t have the unbeaten record to match the Wildcats, it was clear from its play this season that the programs were destined to meet in the sectional title game.

Bishop Eustace’s high-scoring offense proved to be too much for the Wildcats to handle, as the Crusaders won the anticipated matchup, 9-2, on Nov. 11 to capture the Non-Public South championship.

St. Joseph’s Gianna Morganti and Carlina Sacco each scored a goal, and Gab Scocca picked up an assist in the loss.

The Wildcats found themselves in an early hole they couldn’t overcome, ending the first half on the wrong end of a 5-1 score.

Coming into the game, the Wildcats had allowed more than two goals just once this season. They gave up five tallies against Paul VI, but were still able to come away with a 6-5 victory. This time they couldn’t keep up on the scoreboard.

The Crusaders proved how good they were this year. They lost three games in the regular season, but the losses came to perennial powers Eastern, Ocean City and Washington Township. Eastern is ranked as the top team in the country and Ocean City won a sectional title this year.

Bishop Eustace outscored opponents 24-3 on its way to the title. Against the Wildcats, Bishop Eustace’s Amanda Manuola registered a hat trick and Drew Pecora added two goals and two assists. Alexis DiGennero notched two goals and teammate Erin Quinn chipped in a goal and four assists.

Boys’ cross country

Nov. 14

NJSIAA State Group Championships – Hammonton’s Joseph Dougherty continued a stellar campaign, finishing fourth in the Group III meet.

The Blue Devils senior finished the Holmdel course in 16 minutes, 32 seconds, 15 seconds off the winning time set by Highland’s Joshua Clark. His performance secured a spot in the Meet of Champions, which will go off on Nov. 21.

Hammonton finished 13th in team race.

The Blue Devils’ James Brady was 32nd overall with a time of 17:24, while teammate Shawn DiBona (17:54) finished in 75th place. Phillip Iuluicci (18:09) and Jordon Ciocco (18:20) were 102nd and 113th, respectively.

Girls’ cross country

Nov. 14

NJSIAA State Group Championships – Hammonton’s Diane Hoffman was the only member of her team that finished in the top 100.

Hoffman completed the race in 22:06 to finish 91st overall. The Blue Devils’ Riley Patterson (23:29) and Megan McFerren (23:36) were 124th and 125th. Marina Elias (23:49) and Isabella Massey (24:04) crossed the finish line 129th and 131st, respectively.

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