CLAYMONT – It was a tale of two halves in Wednesday’s DIAA field hockey matchup between No. 7 Archmere and tenth-seeded Polytech.
The Panthers controlled the first half as they got a goal from Lacy Bayley midway through the first half and withstood a furious charge by the host Auks in the final 10 minutes of the game to earn a 1-0 victory.
“I think in the first we held possession of the ball of the ball most of the time. In the second half, we just got a little sloppy,” Panthers head coach Lynn Richardson said. “There were lots of penalties and different things being called. They did a nice job of forcing things too. I don’t want to take anything away from Archmere too. They did a great job. We just held on. We really did at the end there.”
Polytech (11-4-1) capitalized on its possession midway through the first half when Maddie McKay took the ball along the end line, passing to Bayley who tipped in the cross for the goal to make it 1-0.
The Panthers looked to add to its lead in the first half but could not find the back of the cage, keeping their lead at one goal heading into halftime, and that made Richardson nervous because she knew the Auks were a dangerous team.
Archmere (11-5) came out strong in the second half and had the bulk of possession, and their pressure resulted in the Auks earning four penalty corners within the last 10 minutes of the game.
Each time, Polytech found a way to prevent Archmere from getting a clear shot on goal before clearing the ball out, and one reason for the Panthers’ success against the penalty corner was their experience facing it many times this season.
“That’s funny. We’ve been challenged in the Henlopen all year long. We had 33 defensive corners against Delmar, so these kids are going to battle,” Richardson said. “They’re going to fight. They’re going to give 100 percent. They’ve been tested during the season. They did a great job again today.”
“Our defense is very under control. They know how to handle it. We’ve experienced facing a lot of penalty corners this year,” Bayley added.
NWith the victory, Polytech advances to the quarterfinals of the state tournament where it will face second-seeded Caravel on Saturday at a site to be determined.