Delmar tops Caravel 4-1 for 5th straight hockey crown

Wildcats players celebrate with the Division II state title trophy. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Delmar High did something on Saturday that it almost never does on a field hockey field.

The Wildcats actually allowed a goal — just the second one they’ve allowed all season.

That goal, scored by Caravel in the second quarter of the DIAA Division II state finals, pulled the Buccaneers within one of Delmar.

But the top-seeded Wildcats shook off the rare mistake to pull away to a 4-1 victory over No. 2 Caravel at Dover High.

The victory gave Delmar its fifth straight state crown — the last four coming in the Division II bracket.

In finishing unbeaten for the fourth season in a row, Delmar (15-0) also ran its winning streak to 77 games in a row.

The Wildcats said nobody panicked when the Bucs’ Taylor Youngson scored with 6:46 left in the second quarter. The goal cut Delmar’s lead to 2-1.

“We knew we were fine,” said sophomore Maci Bradford. “We knew we just had to pick it back up — and we did just that.”

Delmar’s Maci Bradford celebrates a first quarter goal.

Indeed, the Wildcats answered with a goal by Olivia Twilley just four minutes later. The senior scored off a rebound to give Delmar back its two-goal lead and the Wildcats stayed in control from there.

“I talk to them all the time that hockey is a game of scoring goals,” said Delmar coach Jodi Hollamon. “So as long as we score more than the other team, I’m fine with it. So they did handle it (giving up a goal) quite well.”

“I think it definitely fueled the fire even more,” said senior defender Morgan Bradford. “We aren’t a team to give up goals. And then, when that happened, I think we played a little bit harder.”

Maci Bradford tallied both Delmar’s first and last goals to bookend the victory.

The first one came with 5:11 left in the first quarter after the Wildcats had several penalty corners in a row. Delmar finished with a remarkable 23 corners to none for Caravel (12-3).

Bradford then scored on a penalty stroke with 6:05 remaining to cap off the win. The Wildcats outshot the Bucs, 18-1, with goalie Lexi Boettcher making 15 saves to keep Caravel in the game.

Josie Hollamon (1 assist) added a second-quarter goal for Delmar.

After beating Caravel in a competitive 3-0 contest to close the regular season, Delmar’s players knew the rematch wasn’t going to be a walkover.

Delmar’s Jordyn Hollamon, left, battles against a Caravel defender in the first quarter.

“They were a tough team the first time,” said Morgan Bradford. “I think we were ready to go after facing them the first time. They are the best team that we’ve played and we were ready to come out here and get it done.”

The Wildcats have put together some pretty remarkable stats in their five-year reign. This fall they out-scored their opponents 93-2.

Since seniors Morgan Braford and Twilley both played on varsity as eighth-graders, they have been a part of all five Delmar state titles.

“It’s amazing, five in a row is pretty unheard of,” said Morgan Bradford. “It’s definitely still as exciting as ever.

Delmar’s Maci Bradford is congratulated by her teammates after she scored a penalty shot against Caravel in the fourth quarter of the Division ll field hockey final at Dover on Saturday.

“I have no idea what it is,” she said about Delmar’s winning streak. “I have no idea. I just know that I haven’t lost since eighth grade, that’s the only thing I know.”

For Jodi Hollamon, the fact that Delmar was able to get through an entire season during a pandemic is what will make this season special. She never lost sight of the fact that the season could be canceled at any time.

“To get through 2020, and end like this, it’s just surreal to be honest with you,” said the Delmar coach. “There’s tons of different emotions — from not thinking we were going to play a season to every game wondering if that was going to be our last to make it to the final game … it’s unbelievable.”

“We never ever thought this (season) was going to happen,” said Morgan Braford. “But when everyone showed up in the third week of September, we were ready to go, we were ready to play, we were ready to win. And everyone had the same goal.”