Eastern wins, reaches sectional final

Posted: November 03, 2011

Having lost twice to Eastern already this season, visiting Washington Township was engaged in another battle with the 12-time champions Thursday in a South Jersey Group 4 field hockey semifinal.

Then, in a span of a little more than three minutes, the Vikings put the game away with a three-goal flurry that sent the Minutemaids to a 6-1 defeat.

"I was kind of waiting for it," Eastern coach Danyle Heilig said of her team's rally. "That's kind of been our season."

Eastern, No. 1 in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings, move into Monday's sectional final against the winner of Friday's Shawnee-Southern semifinal.

The matchup between the Vikings (21-0) and No. 4 Washington Township (14-4) turned when forward Austyn Cuneo scored for the third time in the game to give Eastern a little breathing room, at 3-1 with 14 minutes, 25 seconds to play.

With 13:03 to go, teammate Jade Dixon found the net. So did the Vikings' Madison Jung with 11:53 remaining.

The run sealed what had been a competitive game. Eastern's Julie Osisek scored with 6:20 left to provide the final margin.

"For about 47 minutes or something, it was 2-1?" Washington Township coach Jeannine O'Connor asked. "The tradition of Eastern's greatness should always be first. They are the best team, and I don't think they will be beat.

"But what shouldn't get overlooked is the fact of getting here. These kids working, and never giving up. We could walk on the field, and not make the effort because 'nobody can beat them.' But we were here to win. That's how we prepare. I give my kids tons of credit."

Cuneo's performance was no doubt the difference between the teams.

Her first goal was a solo effort in which she navigated her way to scoring range from about the 35-yard line. And after scoring twice more, Cuneo assisted on Dixon's goal with a nice pass that went across the mouth of the goal.

"We knew it would be a good game, and we knew they would play aggressively," Cuneo said. "We had to step up our game. I felt a little responsibility, but it's always a team effort."

Washington Township   0 1 – 1

Eastern   2 4 – 6

Goals: E-Austyn Cuneo 3, Jade Dixon, Madison Jung, Julie Osisek. WT-Keli Margiotta.

Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.

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