The streak is alive.
In its toughest test yet on the Henlopen schedule, the Cape Henlopen field hockey team found a way to win the rematch of last year’s DIAA state title game against Polytech.
The Vikings (12-0) only need one goal, and it came early Thursday in Lewes.
Sydney Ostroski stole a failed clear from the Panthers’ back line. Driving ahead, she earned the Vikings first corner of the night eight minutes into the game.
After an infraction before the ball was passed gave Cape another try, the Vikings would capitalize.
The ball found senior midfielder Tess Bernheimer’s stick, and she rifled it toward net.
Panthers’ goalie Lauren Lee had no chance as it deflected into the back of the cage off of Ostroski’s stick with 21:54 left in the first half.
Clinical for Cape.
“We do that every day before practice,” Ostroski said. “Tess is always shooting on us, even in preseason we practiced that – just getting our tips down to get that shot in.”
The win extends Cape Henlopen’s winning streak against in-state opponents to 79, dating back to a 1-0 loss to Sussex Tech on Nov. 17, 2010. It also extends Cape’s unbeaten streak against all opponents to 66. That loss was on Sept. 15, 2012 to Severna Park.
Since then, the only blemish on the record is a tie to Severna Park in 2013.
Head coach Kate Austin hears about the streak every five or so seconds, she said. The team doesn’t like to talk about it, but it’s inevitable.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but we just keep working toward it,” Ostroski said. “It what pushes us along because we want to get further and further and don’t want to let anyone down.”
Austin and the team knew this game against the Panthers (9-2) would be a top matchup on the regular season schedule, especially so late in the season.
“They’re a great team, they come out hard and they always play well against us,” Austin said. “We knew that it would be hard fought and goals would be hard to come by.”
The gameplan for the Vikings was to limit penalty corners for the Panthers. Austin said Jamie Trabaudo and Camryn Dennis are too good to allow them opportunities to score.
Polytech only managed one while Cape had nine.
The only corner for the Panthers was with just under five minutes remaining in the game.
“We just didn’t have enough scoring opportunities,” Poly head coach Lynn Richardson said. “One penalty corner, you’re not going to beat a team like Cape.”
The Panthers received a temporary boost of morale with 18:32 left in the game. A penalty stroke was awarded to Cape after the ball illegally touched a Panthers’ players in front of net.
Bernheimer stepped up to take the stroke. She placed it high and left, but Lee stretched out to knock it away.
“That save by Laurel Lee, those are the types of saves that keep you in games,” Richardson said.
Despite the save, Cape’s defense was too good. The trio of midfielders in Bernheimer, Erin Coverdale and Annie Judge dominated the center of the field.
The Panthers were met with a stick every time they got near midfield. Coverdale said Cape was trying to play high to keep the ball pinned in Poly’s zone.
“We definitely kept stepping up,” Coverdale said. “We wanted to keep them above the 25, and our defense helped us by allowing us to push up even further because they’re such a strong defense.”
The only other game the Panthers have lost this season has been to Delmar, 3-2. The Panthers will be a team to watch in the playoffs this season.
But there is one more game to watch for Cape, ending its season on Nov. 3 at Delmar after being rescheduled from Oct. 1.
For whatever is ahead, Cape is ready, Austin said.
“We’re ready for playoffs,” she said. “We’re ready for Woodbridge, Milford and Delmar.”