There’s just too much talent and experience on Polytech’s field hockey team for the Panthers to panic after finding themselves trailing Milford by a goal less than 10 minutes into their game.
Alyssa Jacobs proved that by scoring a goal less than a minute later to tie it. Jessica Rutkowski and Jenna Hayes then added a couple more as fourth-ranked Polytech managed to pull off a come-from-behind 3-1 win over the Buccaneers in a Henlopen Conference matchup on Thursday afternoon.
Polytech sophomore Jacobs scored off junior Rutkowski’s assist to make it 1-1 with 19:45 remaining in the first half. Rutkowski then got an assist from Hayes, a senior, with 6:33 left until halftime as the Panthers seized the momentum.
“As soon as [Milford] scored, that just basically lit a fire under us,” Hayes said. “We got right back on and we scored right after that twice right away. We just kept the intensity up the whole time and didn’t give up. We never give up, we keep going.”
While Polytech’s offense controlled possession, it was senior defenders Julia Wise, Taylor Humphrie, Addie Stand and freshman goalkeeper Lauren Lee that helped make sure that the Buccaneers would not mount a comeback of their own.
“It was a good win. It’s our second conference game,” Panthers coach Lynn Richardson said. “We played strong defense with my three seniors back there, and we have a freshman goalie. Our seniors were definitely the heart of the defense.”
Polytech (4-0 overall, 2-0 in Henlopen play) held a 14-3 edge in shots on goal. The Buccaneers (2-2, 2-2) received 12 saves from keeper Rebekah Yanacek.
Milford took the early lead when Destiny Sivels scored off a penalty corner chance just 9:27 into the contest. The scoring opportunities for the Bucs were few and far between from that point on.
“Milford was definitely up for the game, and I think they were very excited and it was a great opportunity to knock somebody off,” Richardson said. “They have a great team and a fantastic goalie.
“I think them coming out and scoring early on us caught us off guard a little bit, but I think these guys have a lot of heart and they just came right back and answered and we were able to keep going.”
Hayes gave Polytech a two-goal cushion when she scored off a Rutkowski assist with 23:29 remaining in the game.
Milford coach Andrea Fleming wasn’t completely pleased with her team’s effort, but she also said she’s far from giving up on what is a young season.
“Our second effort just wasn’t quite there consistent enough,” Fleming said. “At times, we made the second effort, but at times we didn’t. … We’d give that first effort and then kind of step back. If we don’t bring that second effort, this is what will happen.”