Game of the Week
in State Title Game
Send a Message to the Vikings
With 2-1 OT Defeat
Photos: Cape Henlopen's Maren Ford (top photo) scored the Vikings' goal. Below, Cape Henlopen coach Ruth Skoglund.
Special to Sussex County Online
NEWARK -- Cape Henlopen High School's dream of an undefeated championship season ended Saturday night in a 2-1 overtime loss to Tower Hill in the Delaware State Field Hockey Tournament title game.
Cape, ranked No. 2 in the state and seeded second, finishes its season 18-1-1. The Hillers, ranked No. 1 and seeded first, end their year 20-0.
The game at Fred P. Rullo Stadium on the campus of the University of Delaware marked the second time in five years the Vikings and Hillers have played an overtime state championship game.
Cape beat Tower Hill 3-2 in 8 overtimes over 2 days in the 1995 championship game.
The scoring Saturday night did not commence until the overtime period, where the teams are limited to seven players a side.
The Vikings' lone goal was tallied by junior forward Maren Ford in the sixth minute of overtime. Taking a rebounded shot off the pads of Hiller goalie Pam Jennings, Ford rifled a shot from eight yards out that found the back of the cage.
Ford's goal came shortly after Tower Hill's Hillary Schmidt opened the scoring on a breakaway opportunity in the fourth minute of the extra period.
Schmidt ran past senior back Brandi Reed, hesitated, then took a shot which got by goalie Nicole Rhoades and hit the right post before trickling into the cage.
"I think she might have had more speed than me," said Reed of Schmidt. "I should have contained her longer."
Schmidt struck again for the Hillers with 1:08 remaining in overtime for the winning tally. This time, Schmidt took the ball from the right side of the cage and snuck a shot between the pads of Rhoades for the score.
"She just performed beautifully tonight," Tower Hill head coach Robin Adair said of Schmidt. "She was moving everywhere we needed her to move. She used her stick well also. She played a great game."
Cape head coach Ruth Skoglund said she was pleased with the effort, despite the disappointing outcome.
"You can't get much better than the way it was played," Skoglund said. "Two great teams, two undefeated teams. Both teams played their hearts out. Tower Hill just got one more goal in the cage than we did."The Hillers dominated play in the opening 60 minutes, consistently controlling play in the Vikings' end of the field. Tower Hill outshot Cape 20-3 while gaining 26 penalty corners to the Vikings' 6.
Cape survived until overtime by virtue of its defense during the penalty corners, limiting the Hillers scoring chances and receiving clutch play from Rhoades, who collected nine saves.
"I thought the defense did an outstanding job," Skoglund said. "They prevented [Tower Hill] from getting any goals off their corners."
Adair also praised the Vikings' defensive effort.
"They played beautiful defense," Adair said. "They got their sticks down and they were in the right place for our shots."
Even though her team fell short of the ultimate goal of a state championship, Skoglund said she was proud of Cape's effort throughout the season.
"(The whole team) was up for this game," Skoglund said. "We had 79 goals this year, only 10 scored against us, and had 11 shutouts. They are a great group of girls who had a great season. I told them that no matter what happened today, they were No. 1 to me."
5:42 -- TOWER HILL (1-0 Tower Hill)
4:00 -- CAPE HENLOPEN (1-1)
1:08 -- TOWER HILL (2-1 Tower Hill)
Shots -- Tower Hill 20, Cape Henlopen 3.
Penalty Corners -- Tower Hill 26, Cape Henlopen 6.
Saves -- Cape Henlopen 9 (Nicole Rhoades), Tower Hill (Pam Jennings).
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