Cape survives Polytech to extend girls’ lacrosse winning streak

WOODSIDE — Sometimes, says Evelyn Shoop, she does things on the lacrosse field without even thinking about them.

So as the Cape Henlopen High junior broke in on goal, she just let her instincts take over.

With the Vikings clinging to a one-goal lead over Polytech, Shoop fired home a shot with 1:58 remaining to clinch Cape’s 12-10 victory over the Panthers on Wednesday night.21dsn Poly vs Cape Girls LAX 008

“After it happened, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that just happened,’” she said. “I don’t know how to explain it. When I’m on the field, it feels like I just do what I know to do. It’s just all instinct.”

Of course, the Vikings, as a whole, have some pretty impressive instincts when it comes to playing lacrosse.

Wednesday’s hard-earned win was the 91st in a row against Delaware teams for Cape’s girls’ lacrosse program. The victory also gave the Vikings (8-1) a 5-0 record all-time against Polytech (6-1), who they beat in the finals to win their seventh straight state title last spring.

But, in a series where the previous four meetings were all decided by at least 10 goals each, this was also easily the closest score between the two Henlopen Conference rivals.

Trailing 10-5, the Panthers closed within just 11-10 on Maddie McKay’s goal with 2:44 still left in the contest. That’s why Shoop’s insurance goal was so big.

Cape played the final 18 minutes a player down after picking up four yellow cards.

“They showed a lot of heart,” Vikings’ coach P.J. Kesmodel said about his players. “We did some smart things. We made some adjustments on the draw. We put some different kids in and we started getting some draws, which was critical because we needed the ball.

“I was really pleased with how we responded because we could have just folded and lost the game — but we didn’t.”

Shoop admits the Vikings did get a little nervous about the situation. Cape has just four seniors on this year’s roster.

“We were a little panicked,” said Shoop. “But we were able to snap out of that. The win was really exciting because of that.”

The Vikings’ winning streak is all pretty new to Shoop. She’s a first-year transfer from Severna Park, Md. who has already committed to Florida,

On Wednesday, Shoop netted a team-high five goals for Cape, which also got three goals from Cailey Thornburg. Lizzy Frederick (3 assists), Victoria Lockwood, Kaitlyn Klabe and Lindsay Monigle tallied one goal apiece.

Goalie Iseabal Cryne made seven saves, including some big ones in the closing minutes, as Cape outshot Polytech, 25-18.

“I heard it was going to be a big game,” said Shoop. “I think they’re a really strong team. It’s hard to defend them but we managed to do it. It was a fun game.”

The Panthers got four goals from Allie McKay, three from Jamie Trabaudo (2 assists), two from Maddie McKay and one from Morgan Cook. Shannon Stephan stopped nine shots.

Polytech coach Lynn Richardson couldn’t help but be encouraged by her team’s effort. The Panthers kept battling after falling behind 4-0 in the first nine minutes.

“I’m excited that my kids competed,” said Richardson. “They have the confidence and they know that they can at least hang with them. It’s good for us, no matter how this game turned out, just having a tight game with them.”

This is the first year that the Henlopen Conference has enough teams to crown an official league champion in the sport. Wednesday’s victory more or less assures Cape of winning that title.

But, with the Vikings and Panthers the favorites to meet in the state finals again, there’s now at least the prospect of a tighter state championship matchup.

“I know we can play better,” said Richardson. “Our kids came off the field saying, ‘We can play better’ — which was kind of neat.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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