It has been 1,049 days since Cape Henlopen lost to a Delaware high school field hockey team.
It has been 1,053 days since Delmar lost to any field hockey team except Cape Henlopen.
So when these teams meet, it is a big deal. And they will meet again today at 4 p.m., when top-ranked Cape Henlopen (5-0-1) travels to No. 2 Delmar (8-0).
Wildcats coach Jodi Hollamon said her team has had this game circled on its calendar since Aug. 15, the first day of practice. But really, Delmar has been thinking about it since Nov. 17, when the Vikings edged the Wildcats 2-1 for their second straight DIAA Field Hockey State Tournament championship.
“Obviously, it’s in the back of all the returning players’ minds. All of our starters are returners,” Hollamon said. “We’ve been 17-2 for the past two years, and both of losses the past two years were to Cape.”
The Vikings have won 40 in a row against in-state opponents, with the last loss coming to Sussex Tech in the semifinals of the 2010 state tournament. Cape also slipped past Delmar 3-2 in the 2011 state final.
“They’re coming after us,” Vikings coach Kate Windett said of Delmar. “They’re not happy that they lost to us in the finals two years in a row. They’re a good team, and they’re definitely coming for us. But our girls, they don’t want to lose.”
Cape also won the last two regular-season meetings, 3-1 at home last year and 2-0 at Delmar in 2011.
“We have a little more pressure on us, just because Cape knows how to win,” Hollamon said. “They know they can beat us; they’ve beaten us before. … We have that monkey on our back that we need to get rid of.”
The Vikings are led by defender Tiara Duffy, midfielder Kat Judge and attacker Marlee McGinness. Cape has struggled to score recently. The Vikings outshot Dover 23-2 last Thursday, yet trailed 1-0 at halftime before rallying to win 2-1. Cape outshot Severna Park (Md.) 33-5 on Saturday, but finished with a 2-2 tie.
“It’s hard to outplay teams and dominate the stats completely and not score many goals,” Windett said. “That’s definitely what we’re focusing on this week. Even tying Severna Park on Saturday, it felt like a loss when you look at the box score and see 33-5 in shots. That’s something that we definitely have to improve on, because you don’t get 33 shots against teams like Delmar.”
The Wildcats are led by midfielder Booter Ellis, attackers Amy Wilson and Paige Twilley-Webster, defender Tessa Jarvis and goalkeeper Tressie Windsor. With experience at every position, this could be the year for Delmar.
“Sometimes in the past, player for player I think we haven’t matched up with [Cape] completely,” Hollamon said. “Player for player, I think this year we’re a little more equal.”
The Salesianum Invitational, which will be run for the 40th time on Saturday at Brandywine Creek State Park, has been renamed the Fr. Beattie Salesianum Cross Country Invitational, to pay tribute to the legendary Sallies coach.
Father Joseph Beattie guided the Sals to 13 state cross country titles from 1966-83, racking up a 182-10 record in dual meets. Tom Higley, Sallies Class of 1986, said, “He was an innovator and visionary, decades ahead of his time in practice methods, motivational techniques and taking the Sals outside the state to compete against the best before all of this became en vogue.”
Now, the region’s best high school runners annually come to Delaware to tackle the notoriously difficult Brandywine course. Freshmen and junior-varsity races will begin at 1 p.m., with varsity races starting at 3. The girls championship race will be held at 3:40, with the boys championship race starting at 4:40.
In addition, Salesianum alumni will hold a reunion and celebration of the invitational’s 40th anniversary. An alumni, friends and family 5K will start at 10:30 a.m. at Brandywine Creek State Park. A mass of celebration and reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Salesianum. For more information on the alumni events, go to http://www.salesianum.org/events or call 654-2495.
Rounding it up
* Youth sports expert Bob Bigelow will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Mark’s High School. Bigelow was a first-round draft pick of the NBA’s Kansas City Kings in 1975 after starring at Penn. He also played for the Boston Celtics and San Diego Clippers. He has conducted more than 2,500 speeches and clinics worldwide since 1993 and is the co-author of “Just Let The Kids Play.” The free event is being sponsored by the Office for Catholic Youth and Young Adult Ministry (CYM), Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association and St. Edmond Academy. All youth sports administrators and coaches are welcome. To register, go to http://www.cdowcym.org.
* Delaware Military Academy is seeking a head coach in baseball. For more information, email athletic director Nick Dorda at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-9089.