Games don’t really come down to one play, but in sudden-death overtime for a state championship Nov. 19, it emphatically seemed like they do.
The Smyrna Eagles took Cape into overtime, when the game goes to seven-on-seven to open up the field. A maximum of three 15-minute periods are played; if no one scores, then it goes to Braveheart – five players from each team go one-on-one. But the game never got out of the first overtime when Dru Moffett, one of coach Loveita Moffett’s two daughters, won a ball at the midfield and raced uncontested into the shooting circle. Moffett crossed the ball, which found the stick of Kirsten Johnson, who deflected it into the cage.
Just moments before, Eagles goalie Halle Geiger made two saves to keep her team in contention.
Eagles elation and Vikings dejection instantly played out on the Cape end of the field.
Smyrna won the Division I state championship, the first state title for the Eagles, who reached the finals last year but lost to Cape 4-0.
In 2006, Moffett was head coach of William Penn when the Colonials lost 2-0 in the state finals to Tower Hill and coach Robin Adair.
The loss was the first in a state final for Cape coach Kate Austin after nine titles since 2012.
Other state final losses for Cape were 3-0 to Caesar Rodney in 2004, a 2-1 overtime loss to Tower Hill in 2000, a 3-2 loss to Tower Hill in 1982 and a 2-1 loss to Concord in 1978.
Coach Kate Austin said, “The coaching staff is proud of the season we were able to put together with basically a brand-new starting lineup after graduating 10 seniors. We saw so much growth from August to November, and we’re a few plays away from another state championship with a very young and inexperienced team. I’m confident their work for next year will start soon to try to avoid this same feeling again next year.”
Blue chair quips - Coach Robin Adair, a Cape graduate, has won a record 10 state championships at Tower Hill, but also lost in the state final seven times, also a record. Delmar field hockey coach Jodi Hollamon won her seventh straight state title in the Division II tournament, but Hollamon had lost in the final four times, all to Cape. Cape had two goals waved off Nov. 19, one late in the fourth quarter off a corner. The call was controversial (aren't they all?), as the ball grazed a Smyrna player's leg on the way to the cage. The ruling was “ball dead,” and another corner was awarded. Archmere girls played hard and happy in the Division II final, dealing with the onslaught of the Delmar Wildcats, who won 7-1. Archmere goalie Ava Hughes, a junior, was credited with 39 saves. The Auks all had smiles on their faces when awarded second-place medals. The Cape players endured the same ceremony after the Division I final. Cape and Smyrna each had 6 shots on goal while Cape had an 8-3 advantage in penalty corners. Halle Geiger and Morgan Newcomb each had 4 saves.