It doesn't appear that the perennial powerhouse Ocean City High School field hockey program is going to catch any team on their challenging schedule by surprise this season.
In 2018, the Red Raiders tallied a dominate 19-4 record, including a perfect mark of 14-0 against Cape Atlantic League (CAL) opponents. Ocean City also captured the NJSIAA South Jersey Group III Sectional Tournament crown last year.
Key returning athletes from 2018 include Chloe Prettyman (senior, forward and midfield), Morgan Pizagno (senior, back), Molly Reardon (senior, forward), Meredith Moon (senior), Morgan Decosta (junior, midfield), Nya Gilchrist (junior, forward), Tara McNally (junior, midfield and forward) and Sophia Ruh (junior, back and midfield).
Among the promising newcomers to the varsity level for the Red Raiders, are Alexis Smallwood (junior, midfield and back), Nora Bridgeford (sophomore, goal keeper), Ally Leeds (sophomore, back) and Olivia Vanesko (sophomore, forward).
Head Coach Kelsey Mitchell mentioned Moon, Prettyman, Reardon, and McNally as being among the team leaders this year.
“Each of the captains brings a unique perspective to our team,’’ said Mitchell. “Molly was a captain last season, so she learned the leadership role, and will bring continuity to the team. Chloe brings a fire with her intensity to practice and games."
"Meredith is very responsible, and is a great liaison between the girls and the coaching staff. Tara brings a wealth of field hockey knowledge and skill to our team," Mitchell added.
Ocean City plays in the CAL American Division along with Vineland, Millville, Mainland, Atlantic City, Absegami, Egg Harbor and Bridgeton.
The Red Raiders are slated to host Vineland Sept. 6
“I believe we have the talent and determination to be a contender in our Division,’’ said Mitchell.
“Mainland and Millville always play us tough,” she added. “Mainland returns Michaela Brady, who has
proven herself a talented goalkeeper. Millville has Casey Etter, a junior, and Jorja Hibschman, a senior, returning from an injury that forced her to miss last season. It is likely they will be a fierce combination for the Bolts.”