Cape deals Delmar first hockey loss, instate streak at 95

LEWES — Cape Henlopen High has won a lot of field hockey games this decade.

The Vikings have been favored in nearly all of those wins. Five consecutive state titles will do that to a team.

But in a rare chance to play the underdog, the Vikings came through on Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore Amanda Sponaugle’s second half goal was the difference as Cape Henlopen edged Delmar High 1-0 to deal the Wildcats their first loss of the season.

The Wildcats entered the contest with 11 consecutive victories and had outscored their opponents 73-4. Cape Henlopen improved to 9-2 on the year, Both of those losses have come against teams from outside of Delaware.

That means the Vikings’ unbeaten streak against Delaware opponents is now up to 95. The last time Cape was defeated by a team from Delaware was when it lost to Sussex Tech in the 2010 state tournament semifinals.

Cape Henlopen has only four seniors on this year’s squad, as the Vikings are trying to reload for yet another run at a state championship.

“I have a really young team but these girls don’t want to be the ones who break that streak,” said Cape Henlopen coach Kate Austin.

Sponaugle scored four minutes into the second half.

The ball caromed toward her after a rebound, and she jumped in front of a teammate to take the shot with a better angle. Her effort was above the sticks of any Delmar defender and banged into the top of the cage.

“I thought I should let it fly,” Sponaugle said. “It was crazy, I just lost it. It’s so exciting.”

Delmar held a 10-4 advantage in penalty corners but the Vikings outshot the Wildcats 8-7. Cape goalie Lori Ferguson recorded three saves.

The magnitude of the game wasn’t lost on the Vikings, for most of them it was the first big game they’ve played in. Austin realized the difference when looking around at all the media members assembled before the game.

“I said this is the most press we’ve had at a game all year,” Austin said. “It’s nice to be somewhat under the radar for a change.”

There’s a strong chance these two teams will meet again in the state tournament.

Cape Henlopen and Delmar have met in four of the last five state championship games, with the Vikings winning each time including last season.

“It’s exciting for now but we know we have to keep working hard,” Sponaugle said. “We know we’re probably going to see Delmar again so we need to work hard to be able to beat them again.”

The Vikings won’t have long to celebrate. They welcome Milford High on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The Buccaneers were also undefeated this year until a 4-1 loss to Delmar last Thursday.

“We’re enjoying this until we step off the field,” Austin said. “Once we step off the field our focus is on Milford. Milford is a good team and they
had a great game with Delmar last week. We’re expecting another great game from them on Tuesday.”

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