Following a season-opening overtime win against Charter School of Wilmington Sept. 9, the Sussex Academy field hockey team had its first true home game Sept. 12 against Smyrna.
Facing the Division I defending state champions, the Seahawks knew they needed to make a play right away.
“Before the game, I told the girls let’s score in the first five minutes, and then they did it. It felt good to start off with that momentum and see the girls so energized,” said coach Leah Hunsinger.
Senior Callie Short, who scored the overtime winner against Charter, took a pass from sophomore Shea Danahy on a penalty corner and fired a comet into the cage.
Within a matter of minutes, though, Smyrna sophomore Bree Moffett scored her first goal to tie the game. A few more minutes later, her second tally gave the Eagles the lead. As the second quarter came to a close, the Eagles earned a pair of corners that would eventually lead to their third goal.
The goal, much like the others, was hard-earned by the Eagles. Seahawks sophomore goalie Kacie Rawlings seemed to be standing on her head throughout the game. Smyrna registered 28 shots, and Rawlings was able to stop 23, many of which came during the 14 penalty corners Smyrna took.
“Kacie Rawlings played a great game, so it was awesome to see her really step up. Also, the girls worked hard in the midfield. There was such a battle for possession between the two teams in that midfield,” Hunsinger said.
The Eagles scored two more in the second half to walk away with a 5-1 victory, but the game appeared to be closer than the four-goal margin. The Seahawks earned eight penalty corners in the match and put 15 shots on goal. Possession was nearly equal for the two teams as well.
“We had many scoring opportunities that we couldn’t finish on, so we need to capitalize on every attacking play in the circle from now on. It was great to play against this level of competition to prepare us for the rest of our season,” Hunsinger said.
Sussex Academy will travel to Laurel to take on the Bulldogs Thursday, Sept. 14 before returning home for another difficult challenge against perennial Division II champion Delmar Tuesday, Sept. 19. Both games start at 4 p.m.