Overtime goal lifts Polytech into Division I field hockey semifinals

Polytech’s Jennah Morris, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime, brings the ball upfield against Mt. Pleasant’s Michelle Hughes during Thursday’s Division I state tournament field hockey game. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

WOODSIDE — It took some time and patience, but Polytech High knew it would eventually break through.

After more than 20 penalty corner attempts, two disallowed goals, a missed penalty stroke and several shots that rolled just wide of the cage, it was only a matter of time before one of those shots went in.

With just under four minutes remaining in overtime, Jazmine Winfield drove a ball from the top of the circle and teammate Jennah Morris tipped the ball into the back of the cage for a 1-0 Panthers home victory over Mount Pleasant High in the DIAA Division I field hockey quarterfinals Thursday afternoon.

“It was really exciting because we practice that all the time and I never get them and then the one time it really counts, I do get it and it was just really amazing,” Morris said of her goal.

The win, Polytech’s seventh overtime game this season, sends the fourth-seeded Panthers (11-4-1) into Tuesday’s semifinals at the University of Delaware’s Rullo Stadium, where they’ll face top-seeded Cape Henlopen High.

Polytech’s Madison Lloyd chases the ball against Mt. Pleasant.

“I was going for the straight shot,” the senior Winfield said. “It was just quick, quick, quick, because every penalty corner we had we just had to play the rebound and I wasn’t getting to it, so I was like, ‘maybe I’ll stay up top a little bit.’

“I got the rebound and I was just going for the straight shot and trying to send it because I don’t think anybody was expecting it, but then Jennah was right there.”

It marks Polytech’s fourth straight semifinal appearance, with the previous two trips ending in a loss to Cape. The Panthers also fell in the 2016 semifinals to Delmar High.

“Throughout the season we always talked about not going into overtime, but we really like going to overtime,” said Morris. “It gives us that rush, that intensity that we like, so to come out here and finish feels really good.”

The Panthers held a 24-2 edge in penalty corners while outshooting the Green Knights 20-1.

The Panthers’ Cecilia Rivera brings the ball upfield against Mt. Pleasant.

Raegan Thomas made one save for Polytech, while Mt. Pleasant goalkeeper Julia Levase stopped 17 shots.

“Their goalie, all I can say is amazing,” said first-year Polytech coach Torrie Huk. “She made our girls work for it, nothing was easy for them and I take my hat off to the goalie and her performance. That was nothing to be sad about. She worked hard and I applaud her for that.”

Within the first five minutes, Polytech’s attack had already made an impact inside the circle by drawing three straight corners. A potential goal was disallowed at the 26:10 mark due to a dangerous shot.

Around the 11-minute mark, a shot from Mairead McKibbin deflected off the left post on a corner attempt, preventing the Panthers from taking advantage of another opportunity. The Panthers had several more near-misses in the last 10 minutes of the half.

“We definitely need to work on some things,” said Huk. “Every game we have to get better and improve, and I think they know that. It’s not going to be simple, every second matters, every ball matters. We’re looking at playing Cape next and it’s not going to be easy.”

The pressure continued with another disallowed dangerous shot just over four minutes into the half.

Mount Pleasant’s Levase made an impressive save on a penalty stroke attempt by McKibbin at the 12:38 mark.

The Green Knights earned their only two corners in the overtime period.

“We’re really motivated [to take that next step],” said Winfield. “We’re seniors and we don’t want it to end. I think this is the one year that we want it more than anything.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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