An unsettled situation in front of the Tower Hill goal cage with 21:57 left in the first half produced a Cami Smith goal to the near side, giving Cape field hockey a 1-0 lead over the visiting Hillers Sept. 13.
It was the only goal scored in the 60-minute game. Cape won to go to 3-0 on the season.
“Cami was looking at a picture of herself sitting on the ground and crying after Tower beat us in the playoffs in 2016,” said assistant coach Debbie Windett. “She said, ‘I don’t want to feel like that again.’”
That quarterfinal exit from the tournament also broke a Cape winning streak against Delaware opponents of 100 straight games. Marlee Geppert and Anna Stancofski were also freshmen on that 2016 team.
Cape was expected to score more goals against the Hillers after opening wins against South River (5-0) and Woodbridge (6-0). Tower Hill won its opener (3-0) over Charter.
But there were no goals to be had by either team the rest of the game, as the Vikings managed 12 shots on goal and the Hillers had four shots. Cape enjoyed a 10-4 advantage in penalty corners.
Tower Hill had eight seniors in its lineup, and in the second half, they were eyeball-to-eyeball with the Vikings, contesting every ball.
With under three minutes to play, a lofted ball was ticketed for the Cape cage, but goalie Marlee Geppert climbed the ladder in her lunar gravity goalie suit as the harvest moon peeked over the horizon. Fans had that shot counted and were thinking 7-on-7 overtime, but Geppert went SWAT team and batted it away.
“The block is called a reverse chip,” Geppert said. “I saw it – I got it; it’s just all instinct at that moment.”
The Vikings will host Sussex Central at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17, and Padua at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, in a rematch of last year’s state championship game.
Cape will visit Delmar Tuesday, Sept. 24. The Vikings have lost to Delmar the last two seasons, but beat the Wildcats in 2016 1-0. The Cats then beat Tower Hill for their first state championship.