With one minute left in overtime, the visiting Millville High School field hockey team saw its season come to an end when Clearview scored a 3-2 victory Thursday afternoon in a Group IV South quarterfinal game.
Despite returning just two seniors from last year, the Thunderbolts enjoyed a productive run that ended with an 11-5-1 mark.
Millville played plenty of hockey over the last three weeks, going to overtime four times. Unfortunately for the T-Bolts, they only captured one victory over the stretch.
Against fourth-seeded Clearview, fifth-seeded Millville never let the game slip too far out of reach.
The Pioneers built a one-goal lead twice, but junior Corrine Etter erased it both times. However, Clearview (14-2) was able to capitalize in the 7-v-7 overtime period.
While the end result was disappointing, Millville coach Claudia McCarthy saw a lot of pluses in her team, not only in the game, but throughout the season.
“We came a long way,” McCarthy said. “This was a rebuilding year for us. Ending up like we did, we really had a great season. We have a lot of good pluses, a lot of good memories and the girls stepped up. They’ve played their hearts out.”
Bella Mumma opened the scoring for the Pioneers late in the first half on a pass from Holly Tevis that found the back of the cage. With less than two minutes remaining before intermission, Etter fired one past Clearview goalkeeper Ashley DiRienzo to tie the game at 1-1.
Although Clearview had seven corners and five shots in the second half, they were only able to convert once. Jackalyn Pauling put one past Millville goalkeeper Kate Reed seven minutes in.
Clearview’s second lead was short-lived, however, as Etter struck again two minutes later, this time converting a penalty stroke for her area-leading 21st goal of the season.
It seemed as if Millville’s inability to register a shot on goal in the sudden-death overtime wasn’t going to matter as the game appeared destined for the penalty-stroke tiebreaker.
However, Pauling ended the game, scoring her second goal with exactly one minute remaining in the second OT.
Clearview coach Britney Ewan, a former star player at Millville, is confident in her team’s ability as they prepare to take on national powerhouse Eastern in the semifinal round.
“I think skill-wise we definitely stand a cut above a lot of players,” Ewan said. “I have at least four players that are Division I prospects so I think that that’s pretty evident when we play against opposing teams.”
While Clearview is moving on, Millville will begin preparing for next season. Even though the game didn’t end in her team’s favor, McCarthy said it’s a perfect example of the resiliency of her team.
“(Thursday) was an example of how hard we’ve worked this season and how far we’ve come,” McCarthy said. “We scrimmaged Clearview in the very beginning of the season and they dominated us. (Thursday) they had to beat us in overtime so I’m just proud of my team.
“It was just a season of surprises and hard work. The outcome was great.”