Delmar wins 4th straight field hockey state title with 6-3 win over Indian River

The Delmar field hockey team celebrates with a pile on their goalie Kelly Davis after winning the Division II state field hockey championship over Indian River at Sussex Academy on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

GEORGETOWN — Mya Kemp and Morgan Fletcher served as seventh-grade ball girls for the Delmar High field hockey team.

At the time, the two girls thought just going to the games was the greatest feeling ever.

Now seniors, Kemp and Fletcher helped the top-seeded Wildcats earn a 6-3 win over Indian River High at Sussex Academy on Saturday afternoon to capture the DIAA Division II state title.

It marks the program’s fourth consecutive state championship and capped a third straight undefeated season.

“Going out my seventh grade year (with) Morgan Fletcher, we all thought it was the greatest thing ever to go to the varsity hockey games and be the ball girls,” said a smiling Kemp. “To be here, and to win a state championship for my fourth year in a row, means the absolute world to me.

Delmar’s Olivia Twilley, left, celebrates her goal with Logan Walls in the first half.

“It’s definitely going to be the highlight of my high school career … not many people can go out to college and say they’ve won four championship games; it’s awesome and I love these girls. I give it all to my coaches and community, we wouldn’t have done it without their support.”

Over the past four years, Delmar has accumulated an overall record of 73-1 while outscoring opponents 517-26. The latest win extends the program’s streak to 62 games.

The program’s past three championship wins have been D-II titles, while the team’s 2016 title win came prior to the state tournaments being split between the two divisions.

Under coach Jodi Hollamon, Delmar has earned eight trips to the finals since the 2011 season. The Wildcats earned four runner-up finishes in 2011-13 and 2015.

Second-seeded Indian River (16-2) took down seventh-seeded Newark Charter School (4-0) in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Lake Forest High (2-1 OT) in Wednesday’s semifinals to earn the program’s first-ever trip to the title game.

Delmar’s Logan Walls takes a shot on goal against Indian River in the first half.

The team’s 16 wins marked the highest single season total in program history.

Saturday marked the first time Delmar allowed three or more goals in a game since Cape Henlopen High did it on Sept. 21, 2017.

Junior Kayler Townsend, senior Avery Congleton and sophomore Emma Ruley netted the trio of goals for IR.

“It says a lot about IR,” said Hollamon. “It was an intense game, back and forth, and that’s how hockey is supposed to be played.”

Junior Olivia Twilley and freshman Josie Hollamon netted a pair of goals each, while senior Logan Walls and freshman Maci Bradford each scored one. Sophomore Kelly Davis picked up the win in the goal cage.

Delmar topped IR in penalty corners, 15-4, with all four of the Indians’ attempts coming in the second half.

It took less than two minutes for Twilley to net the first of her goals, putting the ball in the back of the cage at the 28:18 mark to get the scoring started early.

“We had it open,” Twilley said of the early score. “We moved the goalie around — that’s how we got most of our goals — we did a good job passing in front of her, moving her, and that’s how we executed and got goals today.”

Delmar’s Maci Bradford, center, brings the ball upfield against Indian River defenders Brynn McCabe, left, and Savannah O’Shields in the second half.

Just 16 seconds later, IR’s fast attack sprinted down the field and shocked the Wildcats with an equalizing goal off the stick of Townsend at the 28:02 mark to knot the score, 1-1.

The quick goal deflated Delmar’s early momentum, but the Wildcats gathered in a huddle in the middle of the field to regroup and focus.

“We kind of just stepped back and said to ourselves, ‘oh, we got this’ and then they came right back down there and they got a good goal,” said Twilley.

It didn’t take long to recover as Twilley netted her second of the day at the 24:33 mark to regain the 2-1 advantage. The lead wasn’t relinquished this time.

Goals by Walls at 19:18 and Bradford at 9:23 provided the Wildcats with some first half cushion, but Congleton deflected in a shot off Townsend’s stick with just 2:35 remaining in the half to cut into the lead once again.

With Delmar ahead 4-2 at the break, Hollamon extended the lead at the 19:28 mark of the second half by driving one past the goalkeeper from the top of the circle on a penalty corner attempt.

Ruley’s goal on an IR corner attempt at 8:30 brought the Delmar lead back down to just a pair of goals, 5-3.

With just seconds remaining, a Delmar corner attempt was awarded on a penalty against Hollamon, a play in which she ended up falling down and hitting the turf.

The freshman got right back up and cemented the victory by driving in a last-second goal to put the finishing touches on another title.

“It felt really good to prove that, even if I get knocked down, I can get right back up and put the ball in the goal cage,” Josie said.

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