Panthers win field hockey tournament opener 1-0

CLAYMONT — The Polytech High field hockey team’s seed isn’t as good as it has been in the last couple years.

But the Panthers are still moving on.

Lacy Bayley’s first-half goal proved to be the difference as the 10th-seeded Panthers knocked off seven seed Archmere Academy 1-0 on the road in the opening round of the DIAA state field hockey tournament on Wednesday afternoon.

Polytech has now won at least one game in the state tournament for six consecutive seasons.

“I don’t think the pressure’s on us,” said Panthers coach Lynn Richardson. “I think it’s a good opportunity for these kids to get experience.”

Lynn Richardson

“We know we’re the underdogs so we don’t have to worry about dominating. We just got to take it one game at a time,” Bayley said.

The Panthers (11-4-2) advanced to play at second seed Caravel Academy on Saturday at a time to be determined.

Polytech had to replace most of the core members from last season’s squad, which went 13-3 overall and reached the state championship game in 2014. The Panthers have four freshmen and five sophomores, including Bayley, on the varsity roster.

“It’s not the same team as last year but it’s a scrappy group and they want to continue the tradition,” said Polytech coach Lynn Richardson. “They’re just gamers. They’re tough kids. They work hard in the classroom and they work hard athletically.”

Chances were few and far between for both teams on a cold, rainy afternoon.

Bayley made sure not to waste her best look at goal. Junior Madi McKay found some room on the end-line and centered it across the face of goal where Bayley was waiting to redirect the ball into the back of the cage.

Archmere only mustered two shots on goal for the entire game. Both were saved by sophomore goalie Holly Rembold as Polytech bogged the Auks down in midfield for most of the contest after Bayley’s goal.

“Our defense is very under control,” Bayley said. “They know how to handle it.”

Archmere did have several scoring opportunities in the game’s final 1o minutes with multiple penalty corners but few resulted in shots. Senior Camryn Dennis made one of the biggest plays for Polytech by smacking away an Archmere shot headed for the goal-line.

“I think the first half we did a really nice job of stepping up, containing and we held possession of the ball most of the time,” Richardson said. “The second half, it just got a little sloppy. There were lots of penalties and a lot of different things being called. Archmere did a great job and we just held on.”

Archmere did hold a 9-5 edge in penalty corners. The Panthers are used to defending corners though, they faced 33 in just one game this season against Delmar High.

“We’ve been challenged in the Henlopen Conference all year long,” Richardson said. “So these kids are going to battle and they’re going to fight. They’ve been tested during the season and did a great job again today.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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