Big 2nd half carries Cape hockey team over Sussex Tech 5-0

GEORGETOWN — The Cape Henlopen High field hockey team used four second-half goals to cruise past Sussex Tech, 5-0, in Tuesday afternoon’s Henlopen North game.

A day after celebrating her 16th birthday, junior Cameron Smith paced the Vikings’ offense by scoring two of the team’s five goals.

“We’re a great team offensively and defensively, so we’re well-rounded and I think no matter who comes in, it’s a high work rate. We can all score,” she said.

The win improves Cape’s season record to 4-1 (2-0 in Henlopen North).

Sussex Tech was looking to avenge its 2017 Division I state championship loss to Cape, a game in which the Ravens lost 1-0 at University of Delaware.

“Honestly, you would think that it would come up, but I don’t think we mentioned the rematch of the state championship at all,” Cape coach Kate Austin said.

“We have really been stressing to them that it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, we’re competing against ourselves and we want to be the best version of ourselves every day. We’re telling them to not even worry about the name on the other uniform.”

Cape would out-shoot Tech 21-1 and earn seven penalty corners to Tech’s three.

“Every time we come here we definitely get their best, and we knew they were going to come in here with high energy,” said Austin. “They kind of put us on our heels and we took a little bit of time – 10 minutes or so – to adjust, but then we just turned it on and settled in.”

After 27 minutes of scoreless hockey, Cape finally broke the tie at the 3:03 mark when Smith put the ball in the back of the cage with an assist from senior Amanda Sponaugle.

“We were defensively blocking up on a free hit coming out of the circle, so I knew that I just had to get a touch on the ball,” Smith explained of her first-half goal. “My teammate Amanda was able to get it, and we were already ahead of the defense, so it was just a quick pass and a shot to close post and it went in.”

“It’s funny, I turned to the sideline with about four minutes left and I said, ‘we need to get a goal before halftime’ and it seemed like as soon as I turned around she put the ball in the goal,” Austin explained with a laugh.

Ahead just 1-0 at the halftime break, it didn’t take long before Cape’s offense broke the game wide open.

Senior midfielder Darby Klopp, assisted by Smith, scored a goal at the 28:37 to extend Cape’s lead to 2-0.

“That’s exactly how you want to end a half and start a half,” Austin said of the goals. “If you can score real late and real early, it sort of just takes the wind out of the other team’s sails, so we accomplished our goals today.”

Smith put her team-high second goal of the day in the back of the cage at the 21:14 mark to extend the lead to 3-0.

Freshman Elizabeth Rishko and junior Anna Stancofski scored the team’s fourth and fifth goals just 1:11 apart to put the game out of reach with just over 12 minutes remaining.

Goalkeeper Marlee Geppert and the Cape defense have posted three straight shutouts, with four total on the season.

“Our defense is filled with a lot of new people, and they’re just really stepping up to the challenge every day at practice,” Austin said. “We’re really working a lot on communication and playing sound defense as a unit, not as individuals, and they’re responding to everything really well.

The Vikings have out-scored opponents 22-3 in five games this season.

“They’re taking pride in the defense that they are playing, and they realize that if it’s not a very high-scoring game, we have to rely on strong defense to get it done,” Austin said.

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