No. 8 seed Ravens nip Dover 1-0 to reach D-I field hockey final

Regan Sammons of Sussex Tech squeezes between a pair of Dover defenders with the ball Tuesday night. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

FREDERICA — Sussex Tech made the Division I field hockey state tournament as the last team in.

Now the Ravens are one of the last two teams still playing.

The No. 8 seed edged fourth-seeded Dover High 1-0 on Tuesday night behind a goal by Kira Short to reach the state championship. The victory came just a few days after the Ravens knocked off top-seeded Padua Academy in the first round.

“We’re the eight seed but that doesn’t mean anything,” Short said. “We knew we had a chance coming in. There’s eight teams in the tournament but it’s a whole new season for us.“

Ally Manifold (left) of Dover and Sussex Tech’s Jayla Powell challenge each other for the ball

Sussex Tech will face second-seeded Cape Henlopen in the championship game on Saturday at 2 p.m at Rullo Stadium on the campus of the University of Delaware in Newark.

Dover wrapped up its season with an overall record of 10-5-2. It was the second time this year Sussex Tech won over the Senators 1-0.

Short netted the game’s only tally on Tuesday night in the first five minutes.

“That early goal really set the tone for the rest of the game,” Short said. “Our girls showed a lot of heart and it was a really well-deserved win.”

Sussex Tech relied heavily on the play of senior goalie Grace Lee who kept the Senators off the board all night.

Lee and the Raven defense had to deal with 18 penalty corners for Dover. Fourteen of those came in the first half.

Sussex Tech goalie Grace Lee dives to the ground to block a shot against Dover. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Lee’s biggest stop came with less than six minutes remaining in the second half. She made a diving save to break up a two-on-one opportunity.

“When there’s two on me, it’s hard I have to make a decision quickly,” Lee said. “Luckily I made the right one in that instance.”

“If I stay calm and confident I play well,” she added. “I always repeat that in my head.”

Lee said beating a No. 1 seed like Padua, who entered the tournament with just one loss, gave the Ravens a lot of momentum headed into Tuesday night.

Jayla Powell of Sussex Tech trying to get control of the ball against Dover Tuesday night at DE Turf.

“No one really expected us as an eight seed to beat a one seed,” she said. “Doing that, that brings our confidence way up.”

This is the first time Sussex Tech has reached the state finals since 2010. The Ravens won back-to-back state championships in 2009 and 2010.
To get back to the finals, the Ravens had to hold off a hungry Dover squad who was looking for its first ever appearance in a state field hockey title game.

“Dover is a very strong team,” Short said. “I give them a lot of credit. I’m glad our defense stayed strong and let us come out with the win.”

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