Cape Henlopen field hockey edges Polytech 1-0

WOODSIDE — Sometimes all it takes is one.

That was certainly the case for Cape Henlopen High’s field hockey team on Thursday night as the Vikings earned a big 1-0 Henlopen North win over Polytech.

Freshman Ella Rishko scored the game-winner with only 4:37 to play in the game.

“On that goal, I hit it with my stick at the very end,” Rishko explained. “I did not see it going in, I had no idea where it was. I looked over and I just saw it in the goal.

“It was probably one of the more exciting things that’s gone through my head. I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh I scored the game-winning goal against a team that’s just as good as us,’ and it was just very exciting.”

“She’s super-aggressive, she’s not afraid of the play,” Cape coach Kate Austin said. “She stayed after yesterday and was working on the rebounds with our goalie and making sure the ball goes in the goal. Exactly what we did yesterday is how she was able to put the ball in today. She’s just fearless.”

The offensive opportunities were there for Cape, which out-shot Polytech, 23-2, and earned a 17-0 advantage in penalty corners.

“We were getting shots on corners, really our breakdown today was with our tippers,” said Austin. “I don’t know if it was an issue of not seeing the ball, or our angles were off, but our shots were decent on corners today.”

The win improves Cape’s overall record to 8-1 (7-1 in conference) and puts the Vikings in control of the Henlopen North. It was also Cape’s seventh consecutive shutout win.

The Panthers are 7-2 in conference and overall after losing their second in a row.

“Polytech stuck well with our attackers, they marked really well, and they did a good job stepping in front,” said Rishko. “But in the second half we just did a better job of moving around them and stepping in front to get in front of the goal and get more shot opportunities.”

In the first 30 minutes, Cape’s offense peppered Polytech goalkeeper Holly Rembold with six corners and 12 shots on goal. Polytech’s back line didn’t waver, though.

“We expected this from Polytech’s defense, but it was like ‘Groundhog Day,’” said Austin. “We have the same talk with them every day that they need to be more productive offensively, so it’ll get better. We’ll be ready come tournament time, it’ll be fixed by then.”

Rishko, originally a defender heading into the regular season, made the switch over to offense a few weeks ago and has fit in well with her new role.

“It’s a lot more work, a lot of running and going back and forth on offense,” she said. “Also, you have to anticipate the ball a lot more than you do for defense. Moving from defense to forward is a big change but it’s been exciting. I’ve seen a lot more playing time.”

Rishko has scored four goals this season.

Sophomore Mairead McKibbin and senior Mackenzie Estrada each put up a shot on goal for the Panthers in the second half.

“We have little goals, and we just try to check off those milestones as we go,” said Austin. “Losing to Delmar, unless something goes wrong, they’ll win the conference. But we can still win the North.

“We stress to them that we have to win the North, and in order to do so we have to beat Smyrna, CR and Polytech. So, we’re just going one game at a time and checking one team off at a time.”

“Every team is very good in their own way, you never know when a team can show up and come out of nowhere to beat you or give you really good competition,” Rishko said.

Staff writer Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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