One of these days, a Delaware high school girls lacrosse team will beat Cape Henlopen.
Tuesday was not the day, even though Polytech put a brief scare into the Vikings.
No. 1-ranked Cape Henlopen fell behind by four goals early, but quickly roared back and blew past the Panthers for a 19-9 road victory.
The Vikings have won the last six DIAA state championships, and haven’t lost to a Delaware team since May 2, 2009, at St. Andrew’s. Tuesday’s triumph ran their in-state winning streak to 78 games.
And since Polytech came into the game 9-0 and ranked No. 2, the outcome isn’t good news for the rest of the competition.
“I definitely think that this was a really telling game in the season,” said Cape junior Lizzie Frederick, who finished with four goals and four assists. “Everybody has been talking about how we’re not as good as we were in the last couple of years, because we’ve lost three games already.
“This was definitely something that was going to tell the rest of the state what we’re made of and how good we actually are. I think it did.”
The Vikings (8-3) have had their ups and downs against some of Maryland’s best teams this season, losing to Queen Anne’s County, Stephen Decatur and Worcester Prep. But no Delaware opponent has stayed within seven goals of them.
But Polytech got off to a flying start. Ali McKay and Katie Richardson scored, and Jamie Trabaudo pumped in two goals to give the Panthers a 4-0 lead with 19:20 left in the first half.
“I don’t like to call timeouts because it shows you don’t have faith in your kids, like your panicking,” Cape coach P.J. Kesmodel said. “… But if they had scored one more, I would have called timeout.”
Finally, Frederick charged past two defenders for the Vikings’ first goal. Then Frederick fed Jordan Brown for a score. Then Sarah Tappan swatted in her own rebound. Then Frederick sprinted in right off the draw to tie the game at 4.
In a span of 3:05, Cape went from down 4-0 to forcing a Polytech timeout.
“We just stopped turning the ball over, and we started calling some plays and they were all working,” Kesmodel said. “I would call something, and they would do it and score.”
Cailey Thornburg took Frederick’s pass with her back to the goal, but turned and fired to give the Vikings their first lead with 14:34 left in the half. Tess Bernheimer scored on an 8-meter opportunity, and Lexi Woodruff fed Frederick for a goal. Then Frederick fed Woodruff to make it 8-4 at the 10:11 mark.
“We just like to move the ball, because it’s so much more effective,” Frederick said. “Passes move so much faster than feet.”
Tappan scored on an 8-meter, and Brown banged home a rebound. Then Tappan snuffed a goalkeeper’s pass and jammed it in to push Cape’s lead to 11-4 at the half.
“Every day in practice, P.J. yells at me to pressure the goalie and stay on her, because some day I’m going to get it,” said Tappan, who led the Vikings with six goals. “Finally, I did.”
Kesmodel lauded the defensive play of Annie Judge, Coryn Cannon and Taylor Gooch. After Polytech’s early flurry, the Panthers went 21:18 without a goal.
“After the first four goals, this was one of our best games of the year,” the coach said.
Tappan is among six Cape seniors who have never lost to a Delaware team. Every in-state team knows about the streak, but the Vikings consistently meet the challenge.
“It puts a lot of pressure on us,” Tappan said. “Every game, there’s more and more pressure. But we just have to step it up every time.”
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ