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The Pulse: Ocean City field hockey

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher Losing games isn’t something Ocean City field hockey players have much experience with. The Red Raiders are one of the premier teamsthe pulse in-story logo for web in South Jersey every year and state championships are not just dreamed about, they are expected. No athlete worth their salt enjoys losing, but Ocean City coach Cory Terry believes tough losses to Mainland and Egg Harbor Township earlier this season might have been a good thing for her squad. The Red Raiders, who lost just one game a year ago on their way to another state title, lost three times as many games before October even began this season. But the true test of a champion is how they react and respond after defeat. After falling 2-0 to EHT on Sept. 30, Ocean City has bounced back by winning six of its last seven games, including getting some revenge on Mainland with a 6-0 win last Friday and edging EHT 1-0 this afternoon. Looks like the Red Raiders (12-4, 10-2 Cape-Atlantic League American Conference) have their swagger back. Kelly Hanna and the Ocean City Red Raiders beat Egg Harbor Township 1-0 on Thursday afternoon to improve to 12-4. Ocean City has won six of its last seven games. (Glory Days Magazine photo/Dave O'Sullivan) Kelly Hanna and the Ocean City Red Raiders beat Egg Harbor Township 1-0 on Thursday afternoon to improve to 12-4. Ocean City has won six of its last seven games. (Glory Days Magazine photo/Dave O’Sullivan) “It was a rough first half of the season for us,” Terry said. “These girls literally had to dig themselves out of a ditch in every sense of the word, psychologically, emotionally. These girls were in a very difficult spot, and for teenage girls that’s tough.” Ocean City had a little bit of that deer-in-the-headlights look in late September. In two games against Camden Catholic and EHT the Red Raiders were outscored 8-2 and had a record of 5-3 after consecutive losses. But Terry said her players quickly regained their focus and worked even harder to uphold the tradition of outstanding field hockey at their school. “We just kept working hard every day and reinforcing that they are an amazing team and an amazing group of girls,” Terry said. “They have continued to work hard and I’m proud of them for coming back after being beat down. They were, for a while, playing without confidence after a couple of losses but we kept stressing to them that these losses are important lessons for us to learn and to grow from.” Terry said her message to her players was to forget about the championships, the players who came before them, what happened last year. This is their time and this is their year to make the best of. “There’s a lot of pressure on these girls in general, playing at Ocean City. It’s almost like if you don’t win every game there’s something wrong with you, and that’s something that is difficult to carry with you,” Terry said. “Something I think they learned was, ‘what do you have to lose?’ They’ve already had their huge obstacles and trials, so now it’s just like, ‘let’s go and do this.’ “I think they are in a position where they are ready to just leave it all out on the field every time they are out there.” The Red Raiders have a big week coming up next week. The South Jersey Group 3 playoffs begin on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday Ocean City travels to Eastern to take on one of the most dominating field hockey programs in the nation. The Vikings once set the national record for consecutive games without a loss (153) and in 2011 were the No. 1 team in the nation. This season they are No. 1 in New Jersey, and Austyn Cuneo broke the national record for career goals (191) yesterday in an 11-0 win over Cherry Hill East. Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays.

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