Cape Henlopen captures fifth straight state field hockey title

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Cape Henlopen players pose for a championship photo after winning their fifth consecutive state crown on Saturday. (Delaware State News/Tim Mastro)

NEWARK — As it lined up for yet another state championship team picture, the Cape Henlopen High field hockey team discussed which pose it should do.

The Vikings settled on holding up five fingers.

Cape won its fifth straight state title with a 3-1 victory over Delmar on Saturday afternoon at Rullo Stadium. The top-seeded Vikings broke a 1-1 tie in the second half on freshman Alia Marshall’s goal and added an insurance goal on Madison Irwin’s strike.

“I love this team,” said senior Sydney Ostroski, who netted the first goal. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do without these girls.”

This senior class wrapped up a career that includes four state titles, a second consecutive 19-0 season and a 73-game unbeaten streak.

The last time Cape Henlopen lost to a Delaware opponent was in the 2010 semifinals to Sussex Tech.

“It’s a big relief,” senior Tess Bernheimer said. “Every year there is so much pressure. We’re always expected to win. To do it four times is a really big relief for us.”

“They’re just special,” said Cape coach Kate Austin of the senior class. “They’re irreplaceable at this point. I can’t imagine August 15 without the 11 of them. They’re just a special group of girls.”

After a scoreless first half, the Vikings needed just 30 seconds to score in the second. Marshall, a freshman, worked up the left side of the field and her shot was tipped over the goalie’s head by Ostroski.

Delmar equalized thanks to Ashlyn Carr’s goal off Caitlyn Winks’ assist with 19:09 left.

But Cape Henlopen earned a penalty corner of its own five minutes later. It was inserted into Bernheimer and her hard shot was deflected into the net by Marshall.

Irwin sealed it with her goal off an Ostroski assist with 5:42 remaining.

“The girls played with heart for 60 minutes,” Delmar coach Jodi Hollamon said. “I thought there were times that we were the better team and we just didn’t finish in front of the goal cage a few times. In true Cape fashion, they finished in front of the goal cage.”

Bernheimer, who scored both goals in Cape’s semifinal victory, received most of the attention from Delmar’s defense. The Wildcats had sophomore Desiree Granados try to mark Bernheimer out of the game.

It was successful as Bernheimer wasn’t able to get many touches aside from off penalty corners. But Marshall took advantage of the opportunity to have a big game.

“Delmar put someone on Tess to shut her down today and we had a freshman step up,” Austin said.

Of Cape’s five state championships, four have come against the Wildcats.

Delmar, which finished 15-2-1, had a combined nine eighth- and ninth-graders on its roster this season.

“They have eight-graders and ninth-graders on the field so that makes us a little uneasy for the years to come,” Austin said.

“I say this every year, but hopefully we’ll be back,” Hollamon said. “We do have young players who had to step up and play these roles.

“We’re too small of a school to have a senior and junior team. We have kids in eighth and ninth grade who have to play and make an impact. For us to be able to play with a team who have kids who have to wait three years before they can even step on the field, I think is a testament to our program.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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