Hollamon’s game-winner gives Wildcats 2-1 conference title win over Cape

Delmar players gather around the trophy after winning the inaugural Henlopen Conference field hockey title game Saturday afternoon. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

GEORGETOWN — The first two tries just barely missed.

When Josie Hollamon got a third chance, she made sure to capitalize.

As soon as her teammate Morgan Bradford inbounded the penalty corner attempt, the Delmar High freshman wasted no time driving it into the back of the goal cage for the game-winning score in the Wildcats’ 2-1 Henlopen Conference championship win over Cape Henlopen High Saturday afternoon at Sussex Academy.

The goal came just minutes after Hollamon’s previous two shots, both also on corner attempts, missed just wide of the cage.

“On those other ones, I was a little bit further over on the circle,” Josie said. “So, I went a little bit to the left so I could have a better shot and angle and when I did it just went into the goal cage.”

Delmar freshman Maci Bradford battles for control of the ball against a Cape defender. Bradford scored the Wildcats’ first goal of the game. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

The go-ahead goal came with just 34 ticks remaining, giving Delmar the win in the inaugural Henlopen Conference field hockey title game.

Delmar outshot Cape, 8-6, but the Vikings had the 8-7 edge in penalty corner attempts.

“I love it because it’s the two best programs in the state going at it to show how strong the Henlopen Conference is in field hockey,” said Wildcats coach Jodi Hollamon. “It makes me proud, that’s how hockey is supposed to played, either of these teams could have won today’s game.

“Cape played outstanding — I thought they were better than us in the first half, by far. They outhustled us, but then we settled in the second half and found a way to win.”

Cape midfielder Noelle Sabbagh hits the turf as she battles Delmar’s Morgan Bradford for control of the ball. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

Delmar finished the season 15-0 for the third straight time to earn the top seed in the DIAA Division II state tournament.

With a first-round bye, the Wildcats will play its quarterfinal round game next Saturday against the winner of ninth-seeded Caravel Academy and eighth-seeded Wilmington Friends School. The game is set for 11 a.m. at Sussex Academy.

The Wildcats will be seeking its fourth straight state title.

“It feels amazing,” said sophomore goalkeeper Kelly Davis. “For the first time ever, we got to play this game and it’s great to walk away with the conference title.”

Cape entered the game with a 14-1 record, with the team’s lone loss a 4-0 shutout at the hands of Delmar on Sept. 24.

The Vikings earned the top seed in the DIAA Division I state tournament and will face eighth-seeded Newark Charter in the first round on Tuesday.

Davis finished with five saves; Cape’s Marlee Geppert and Julie Heffernan combined for six saves.

Delmar took the quick one-goal advantage less than three minutes into the game when freshman Maci Bradford put the ball in the back of the cage at the 27:05 mark.

Cape’s senior defender Anna Stancofski netted the equalizer with 2:47 remaining in the half to knot the score, 1-1. Senior attack Cameron Smith drove a shot from the top of the circle and Stancofski deflected it into the cage for the score.

The Vikings outplayed the Wildcats through the first 30 minutes, earning more than half of its corner attempts and peppering Davis with shots inside the circle.

“It was definitely really exciting, because some games I’m not as active, so it was great to get to show what I have and to get to work together as a defensive unit to get the ball out,” said Davis.

Delmar earned all seven of its corners in the second half, including four consecutive attempts around the 16-minute mark before Hollamon finally capitalized on the team’s final attempt to seal the win.

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