Wildcats blank Spartans in field hockey semifinals

Delmar’s Ashlyn Carr, left, and Lake’s Grace Aguilar battle for possession. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

NEWARK — A pair of goals from junior Mya Kemp paced the Delmar High offense in Wednesday afternoon’s 4-0 Division II field hockey semifinal win over Lake Forest High at University of Delaware’s Fred P. Rullo Stadium.

The semifinal win sets the top-seeded Wildcats (17-0) up in Friday’s state championship game against second-seeded Caravel Academy (16-1). The time of the title game has yet to be determined.

Delmar is seeking its third consecutive state title. The Wildcats defeated Tower Hill School in consecutive state final games in 2016 and 2017.

“Every state championship is sweet, but to be here for a third year in a row with a chance to three-peat is pretty awesome,” Delmar coach Jodi Hollamon said.

Delmar outshot Lake 26-2 and edged the Spartans in penalty corners, 10-0.

Lake Forest goalkeeper August Lewis makes one of her 22 saves on the night against a shot by Delmar’s Mya Kemp. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

Senior midfielder Hailey Bitters scored one of the team’s goals, while senior attack Jordan Moore added one goal and one assist.

Lake Forest back line and junior goalkeeper August Lewis had a strong start to the game, keeping the high-powered Wildcat offense out of the cage for nearly 20 minutes and allowing just four first-half penalty corners.

“We looked a little flustered in the beginning. Everything wasn’t clicking, we weren’t completing our passes and putting our passes on the teammate’s stick,” Hollamon said.

Following the sluggish start to the game, which included missed offensive opportunities inside the circle, Hollamon called a timeout at the 18:05 mark of the first half.

“Regardless of how many games you’ve won coming in here, you’re still nervous,” she said. “They’re kids, and they were a little nervous, I think. They got rid of that, I thought it was important to settle them down and they did after that timeout for sure.”

The timeout break was exactly what the Wildcats’ offense needed to settle down and get back to playing how they have all season.

Delmar’s Mya Kemp, who scored two of the Wildcats’ four goals on the day, drives the ball down the field against Lake’s Riley Wood. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

“During the timeout we just talked about playing Delmar field hockey, making smart decisions and that we needed to focus on our game and not their game,” said Kemp.

Less than five minutes following the timeout, it was Kemp who put a goal on the board for Delmar at the 13:37 mark of the opening half.

“We just knew we had to finish — we had been preaching it all week — so I knew I had to keep moving in the circle and it was there, so I just had to give it all I had to get it in the goal,” said Kemp.

“We knew we had to focus on not dribbling as much and utilizing our passing on the surface and finishing in front of the goal,” Moore explained.

Bitters added on to the Wildcat lead with a goal with 3:37 remaining in the half to put Delmar ahead 2-0 at the halftime break.

Moore cushioned the lead with a goal early in the second half, putting Delmar ahead 3-0 with 23:24 remaining.

“I saw Maci [Bradford] go and shoot the ball and I knew I needed to step in front of the keeper to tip it,” Moore explained. “I turned around and it was right on the goal line, so I just finished it.”

Bradford was credited with the assist on the play.

Kemp completed the scoring, registering her second multi-goal game of the season, with a goal at the 7:46 mark of the second half.

Lewis finished with 22 saves for the Spartans.

Delmar’s freshman goalkeeper Kelly Davis made one save on just two shots from the Spartans’ offensive unit.

Caravel Academy, Delmar’s state title opponent, went 14-1 during the regular season and defeated Mt. Pleasant in the semifinals by a score of 6-1, but Hollamon and her girls aren’t worried about who they will be lining up against Friday.

“Our focus is not worrying about the other team and to keep playing our game,” said Kemp. “We haven’t changed anything all season so there’s no reason to change it for the last game. We just need to come out again and play Delmar field hockey, passing and finishing.”

“A win is a win and we’re playing in the state championship again. That’s all we’re worried about,” said Hollamon.

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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