FREDERICA, Del. – Cape Henlopen’s (Lewes, Del.) first mission Tuesday night was to keep getting possession of the ball.
When the Vikings do that, goals typically follow.
And because Cape was successful in that initial test, winning the first five draws and netting the first five goals, there was never any doubt that the Vikings’ most prized possession would remain in their hands, too.
Cape Henlopen dominated St. Mark’s from the start and prevailed 19-7 for its ninth straight championship in the 20th annual DIAA Girls Lacrosse Tournament at the overcast DE Turf Sports Complex.
“The most important thing was just to keep our composure and get possession,” said senior Evelyn Shoop, who deposited the first of her five goals to open the scoring 76 seconds into the game.
That was especially critical, she added, after Cape had been “flustered” at the start of last week’s 10-5 semifinal win over Ursuline and had to rally.
“Once we get our rhythm going in a game,” Shoop said, “we just never stop.”
The second-seeded Vikings (16-2) have now won 111 straight games against Delaware schools, a streak that began with a 16-3 victory over Caesar Rodney on May 4, 2009, a few weeks before the state title that started their run.
The 19 goals were one shy of the title-game record scored by St. Andrew’s in 2004 but the most by Cape, which also equaled its largest title-game margin, winning by 12 goals for the third time in four years. Cape only won by 10 the other time.
Kendra Schweizer, a University of Delaware-bound junior, scored five goals for No. 4-seeded St. Mark’s (15-3), which was playing in its third state girls lacrosse final having fallen to Tower Hill in 2006 and Cape Henlopen in 2010.
But Cape never gave the Spartans a sniff of victory with its early assault, with Annie Judge regularly winning draws and Cailey Thornburg also getting a couple.
“We just needed to get something to get us going,” said Judge, whose older sisters Caroline and Katherine also played for Cape state title teams. “When we got that ball we just needed to take it down and settle it. We just had to have control and keep steady.”
It was 13-4 at halftime, which reflected the fact Cape had won 13 of 18 first-half draws. When Shoop gave the Vikings a 10-goal margin just 23 seconds into the second half, the final 24-plus minutes were played with a running clock.
“Oh it’s great. I love it,” Judge said of Cape’s nine-year dominance. “It gets nerve-wracking ever year because we have to keep up to it but it’s a tradition.”
Lindsay Monigle added three goals and Chloe Schaeffer, Thornburg, Victoria Lockwood and Kaitlyn Klabe had two each for Cape. Monigle and Thornburg also had two assists each. Cape enjoyed a 34-7 advantage in shots.
“The Ursuline game we struggled with our stickwork early on and today they were ready to go,” said Cape first-year head coach Lindsey Eichner.
Eichner stepped in when P.J. Kesmodel retired after last season. Kesmodel had coached the previous eight title teams and was on hand to watch Tuesday.
“P.J.’s been supportive the whole year,” said Eichner, a former Wesley College head coach, Eastern Shore Lacrosse association youth coach and assistant at Polytech from 2011-15 and Cape last year. “If I have a question or anything I give him a call and he’s great.
“It’s just exciting. It’s fun. The girls have worked really hard.”