Vikings back in D-I field hockey final, blank Polytech 4-0

The Vikings celebrate after scoring their second goal in the first half against Polytech Tuesday night at DE Turf. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

FREDERICA — Cape Henlopen High’s hiatus from the field hockey state championship game didn’t last long.

After not making the finals last season, the Vikings are back this year.

Second-seeded Cape Henlopen defeated No. 3 seed Polytech 4-0 in the Division I semifinals on Tuesday night. The Vikings will meet eight seed Sussex Tech at 2 p.m. on Saturday for the championship at the University of Delaware’s Rullo Stadium in Newark.

Annie Judge of Cape Henlopen launches a long pass against Polytech.

The Vikings had played in five-straight finals from 2011-2015, winning all of them, before they fell in last year’s semifinals to Tower Hill.

“I think we needed last year to grow and we needed to feel losing,” said Cape coach Kate Austin. “Sometimes, a loss can be good and I think that loss last year was good. We refocused and we’ve been building, baby steps throughout this season. We’re peaking now and it’s a good time to be peaking.”

Sophomore Cameron Smith led the Vikings with a pair of goals in the first half.

Smith said the disappointment from last season has motivated the Vikings all year.

Polytech freshman Claire Fuchs trying to advance the ball past Cape’s Annie Judge.

“We understood how bad it felt,” she said. “We didn’t want to feel that again. We’re a lot hungrier this tournament.”

Lindsay Monigle provided the opening goal 10 minutes into the contest and Alia Marshall added the other goal late in the fourth quarter.
Annie Judge also had an assist for Cape Henlopen (15-2).

After starting the season 1-2, Cape Henlopen has won 14 games in a row. The Vikings have outscored their opponents 11-0 in the first two rounds of the state tournament.

“They’ve been saying preseason started this is our comeback season,” Austin said. “This team hates to lose. That competitiveness only helps us.”

Polytech finished its season at 11-6 overall.

Shannon Stephan of Polytech (left) passes to a teammate deep in Cape territory in the first half.

“We’re happy to be where we were at the end of the season,” said Panther coach Lynn Richardson. “Our kids had a great season. We’ve got a young crew and a young team. I’m proud of the kids and the season they had.”

Lori Ferguson made four saves to record the shutout.

Cape Henlopen held an 8-6 edge in shots and a 17-6 advantage in penalty corners.

“Polytech is a great team with speed all over the field but we made adjustments to shut down their key players,” Austin said. “I think we controlled the pace of the play. They had to adjust to us more than we had to adjust to them.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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