Cape Henlopen did it again.
The Vikings edged Delmar 1-0 in the championship game of the DIAA Field Hockey Tournament on Saturday at Dover High for their third consecutive state title.
All three times, Cape had to beat Delmar in the final. All three times, it has been excruciatingly close.
The Vikings ran their in-state winning streak to 51 games. The Wildcats have lost only six times in the last three years, all to Cape Henlopen – three in the regular season, three in the championship game.
“It’s hard to believe. I’m still shaking,” Vikings coach Kate Windett said. “The whole game, I was shaking. [Delmar] is such a good team. It’s hard to beat them six times in a row. It’s unbelievable.”
Two years ago, the Vikings won 3-2 in the title game. Last year, Cape won 2-1. This year, it was 1-0.
“The stars just aren’t aligned for us in the state finals, I guess,” Delmar coach Jodi Hollamon said. “I don’t know. We just are unlucky, I guess. We played great hockey.”
Both teams are used to generating around 20 shots per game, but they knew that wouldn’t happen Saturday. Cape (18-0-1) managed five shots, while Delmar (17-2) took three.
The only one that got through came in the 39th minute, when Vikings junior Sam Broadhurst drew the defense’s attention and passed to sophomore Tess Bernheimer for an easy score.
Delmar’s best scoring chance came in the 23rd minute, when Cape goalkeeper Katie Kolobielski sprawled to stop two shots by Booter Ellis and Amy Wilson off of a penalty corner.
“As long as we stopped the corner, I knew that we were going to win,” Kolobielski said. “I stay on my feet when I know that it’s right, but I knew that I had to dive to save the ball and I had to do whatever it took to keep the ball out of the net.”
Ellis was dominant in the midfield area, but Tiara Duffy and the rest of the Cape defenders did their best to keep the ball out of the circle.
“We just knew that they would go to Booter a lot, and she is really powerful up the middle,” Windett said. “We tried to shut her down and not give them corners.”
The Vikings did allow a corner in the final seconds, giving Delmar one more chance to tie it. But Bernheimer rushed out to stop Ellis at the top of the circle, and that was it.
The Wildcats’ roster is dotted with 10 frustrated seniors. Their coach was proud of their effort – not just Saturday, but all through their high school careers.
“They have nothing to put their heads down about,” Hollamon said. “There are a lot of girls that wish to get to this spot every single year, and they’ve been there for the past three.
“Sometimes, I think it has almost started to be taken for granted that we’re supposed to be here. It’s their hard work and the things they do in the offseason, that’s what puts us here.”