It can be difficult to score in field hockey, and the stout defenses of Charter of Wilmington and Mount Pleasant made it almost impossible Wednesday.
The Force’s Morgan Lamey was the only one to break through, converting Paige DiGuglielmo’s deflected pass in the 24th minute to give Charter a 1-0 victory at Mount Pleasant in the opening round of the DIAA Field Hockey Tournament.
The 10th-seeded Force (11-2-2) advanced to play No. 2 Tatnall in the quarterfinals at 11 a.m. Saturday at Tower Hill. The seventh-seeded Green Knights finished their season at 13-3.
“Paige works her butt off every single game,” Lamey said of DiGuglielmo. “She dribbles to the sideline, passes it to me and it’s my job to get it in.”
Lamey did just that late in the first half, and the Charter defense preserved the lead by holding Mount Pleasant to just three shots.
“They did a nice job defensively on us. We couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” Green Knights coach Peter Meisel said. “They had a girl that was just wide open, and she buried it like you’re supposed to do.”
Force goalkeeper Mackenzie Cahill made two big plays early in the second half, foiling a breakaway before Sarah Gosling could shoot and making a solid save on Kate Walker’s shot off a penalty corner.
“Our amazing goalkeeper, she came up big for us,” Charter coach Cindy DePrisco said. “Mount Pleasant is an absolutely great team. They have stick skills and they were driving the field and we knew they were just pounding it in there. [Cahill] was exactly what we needed.”
The Green Knights made several other trips into the circle, but the Force back line of Katie Harris, Victoria Muir and Sarah Groves joined with other defenders to hold them off.
“We knew they had a couple of players who were really strong, had really strong shots,” Cahill said. “… I really thank my defense. They are really good at blocking up.”
Mount Pleasant made big strides this season after going 9-6-1 with a first-round tournament loss to No. 1 Cape Henlopen last year.
“I did not expect to go 13-2 going into this season,” Meisel said. “We accomplished our goals, which were to win Flight B, beat Brandywine, qualify for the state tournament and not play Cape Henlopen in the first game. That was our mission.”