It may have taken the Delsea Regional High School field hockey team until the middle of the second half to score the game’s first goal Tuesday, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
After registering eight shots on goal within the first 10 minutes of the game, the Crusaders kept up the offensive pressure to ultimately defeat the Gloucester County Institute of Technology, 2-0.
Delsea (5-3) had the statistical advantage throughout the game, recording a total of 32 shots on goal to GCIT’s eight. The Crusaders also had 14 corners, one of which finally paid off when sophomore Destini Parker put her team up 1-0 off a feed from Lexi Brown at the midway point of the second half. Parker would go on to notch her second goal of the game and seventh of the season with just seven seconds remaining.
“It was really good (to get the first goal) because we were all trying to get it,” Parker said. “We were all trying to work as a team, and we finally got it together and got the goals.”
Although Parker provided the offensive spark Delsea needed, goalkeeper Onnie Coles made sure the Cheetahs (2-2) stayed off the scoreboard, making six saves, including a few splits and dives. The victory was especially rewarding for Coles, who got the promotion following a concussion to No. 1 goalkeeper Danielle Ziegler during the team’s first game of the season.
“It feels amazing,” Coles said. “Working so hard during preseason, sweating my butt off in these pads, it feels amazing to finally step up and be something greater.”
Although Delsea coach Meg Unger admits the team is struggling to score, she was able to take away a lot of positives from Tuesday’s showing.
“We were very satisfied with the teamwork, with the play, with their talking to one another,” Unger said. “They just did a very nice job as a team. Our problem right now is trying to put the ball in the cage and that’s how you win the game.”
The Cheetahs will have a shot at redemption later in the season, though if Coles has any say in the outcome, the results may be similar.
“I have all these pads on and I’m most likely bigger than her, so she’s not going through me and the ball’s not going through the pads,” Coles said. “You just keep your eye on the ball and believe in yourself.”
Believe in herself she does, as Coles says she has no plans to return to her role as a backup or to her spot on the JV team.
“I love the way (playing on the varsity team) feels,” she said. “It’s a great feeling, especially when your team is behind you and you come off a great win like this.”