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High School Field Hockey:
Lady Chiefs Win Title

By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer

Lady Chiefs coach Sharon Tinucci paced her team to a 1-0 championship victory over Toms River North. She kept coaching her players with inspiration all game to capture Cherokee's first ever championship crown. It was everything the Lady Chiefs could hope for, winning it all. It erased that bad feeling they had from losing last year to Shawnee in the 1996 championship match.

Cherokee kept their offense in high gear during the first half and was determined to score. That's when Kelly Rose got the first goal of the game with 16:54 left in the first half. Rose knew how important it was to get an early lead on the Lady Mariners. Her excitement carried over to the rest of her teammates and Cherokee began to pressure the defense again.

But a stoppage in play because Toms River's Megan Clarey caught a stick to the mouth definitely slowed things down. The injuries didn't stop there for the Mariners. Ashely Richardson with hit by a line drive to the head that brought a sincere gasp to the crowd. Needless to say, both teams were concerned. Both players were attended to and Richardson was alert but was taken off the field to a hospital for precautionary measures. Clarey returned to the game.

When play continued, the Cherokee home crowd wanted to see more scoring. The cold temperatures didn't stop them from cheering in hoping to see them capture the crown. With each penetration into Mariners territory, the crowd got louder in anticipation of them scoring another goal. No one scored the rest of the game, but the fans and the Lady Chiefs were not disappointed because they had just captured the first field hockey title in their school's history.

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