Heavy hearts and a focused mission enveloped the Cape field hockey family over two days, playing and winning a Friday night state championship 5-0 over Padua after being shocked by the sudden passing of Bill Windett that Wednesday afternoon. Bill was assistant coach Debbie Windett’s husband, coach Kate Windett Austin’s father and baby Jackson’s grandfather.
The Vikings hit the Rullo Stadium turf rolling like thunder with freshman Noelle Sabbagh banging home a goal at 26:20 off an assist from Cami Smith. Anna Stancofski scored at 3:21 on a pass from unsung forward Amanda Sponaugle to give Cape a halftime lead of 2-0.
“Padua had an untimed corner just before half, and I said, ‘No way they are scoring. We are closing this season with a shutout,’” said Marcella Sabbagh, who sent a sorta shot to the stick of Stancofski, who drove it out of bounds.
Cape went on to dominate the game with a 20-1 advantage in shots on goal and 16-2 on corners.
Alia Marshall scored off a corner just a minute into the second half (28:59), and that was followed by a Jackie Cannon goal (26:19) and punctuated by Marshall’s second goal with 23 seconds left to play.
It was good karma in the cosmos for senior Marshall and freshman Noelle Sabbagh, as Marshall had a goal and assist in 2015 her freshman year in a 3-1 state championship win over Delmar, and Sabbagh showed up four years later to score as a freshman in a state championship game.
“I was pacing the floor last night just thinking about this game,” Noelle said. “It was just so much fun to play on this team and to share a championship with my sister Marcella.”
Padua goalie Shannon McCormac had 15 saves in the game.
Cape finished the 2018 campaign 17-1, all wins coming by shutout, while the Pandas closed out the season 16-2, with both losses coming to Cape Henlopen.
The state title was the seventh in the last eight years for Cape and sixth under coach Kate Windett Austin. Cape also won championships in 1979 with coach Carolyn Ivins, 1995 with coach Ruth Skoglund and 2011 with coach Nicole Catanzaro Hughes.
The post-game photos and presentations were the same as they ever were except the senior captains grabbed the trophy as coach Kate monitored free-ranging toddler Jackson, who quietly ambled about the green carpet, his eyes reflecting the image and memory of Bill Windett.