Dover blanks Middletown to end hockey tourney win drought

MIDDLETOWN — The Dover High field hockey team had experienced first-round losses the last two state tournaments.

This group of Senators were set on changing that.

“You don’t want to feel that again,” said junior Joy Adkins.

The 10th-seeded Senators did that in a big way on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, scoring five goals in the first half to knock off seventh-seeded Middletown High 6-0 in the first round of the DIAA field hockey tournament at Cavalier Stadium.

Adkins and sophomore Jacarra Jackson led Dover (11-4-1) with two goals apiece while junior Mira Prisco and sophomore Ashley Manifold each added a goal. It was the Senators’ first state tourney win since 1999.

Dover advances to play No. 2 Wilmington Christian (15-1) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Hockessin Montessori School (11 a.m.).

The Senators had fallen to Delmar in the opening game of the last two state tournaments, including a 3-2 overtime loss a year ago.

“This is enormous,” said coach Denise Kimbro. “They finally believed they could win that first round and do it together as a team. It’s incredible. It took us three years to get past that hurdle. I’m so proud of them.”

“It means a lot with these last two years,” Prisco said. “It was in our minds that we didn’t want to feel that again. We wanted to come out with a win.”

“We’ve always been so close to getting to the next round,” Adkins said. “Finally being able to get there is a really good feeling.”

Dover’s first two goals came from penalty corners.

Ten minutes into the contest, Prisco slid a pass into the middle off a corner and while the first Dover shot was saved, it rolled right to Manifold who was able to slot her effort through a crowd for the game’s first goal.

Two minutes later it was Prisco’s turn to find the back of the cage when she finished off a corner from Taylor Hutchins. Adkins netted back-to-back goals soon after before Jackson scored her first goal just 30 seconds after Adkins’ second tally.

An adjustment from Kimbro helped lead to Dover’s goal-scoring barrage in the first half.

She moved Prisco up to center forward to play next to Adkins and also put Manifold in center midfield.

“It started clicking,” Kimbro said. “You can’t win games if you don’t score goals. We have a great defense but you have to score goals.”

Jackson added the lone goal in the second half.

The Senators extended their winning streak to six straight games while also dealing Middletown its first loss in its last six games. The Cavaliers finished their season at 12-4.

“We had only played them in a tournament at school (in preseason),” Prisco said. “We didn’t know too much about them. But it didn’t matter, we were still going out there to try our best. Our passing and working together helped and we definitely used those corners to our advantage.”

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