There is one less undefeated field hockey team tonight. The Milford Bucs lost their first game of the season at Cape’s Champions Stadium on a rainy, windy night. It was less than ideal field hockey conditions but Cape delivered on the slippery turf. The game was played and won in the midfield and Milford just couldn’t get in the groove. The Mackert, Masten, Dunlap, Zimmerman connection just wasn’t there the way I saw it at Sussex Academy. Cape’s Devon DeGregory (Salisbury University commit) had some of the best transfers to the midfield and attackers you will see in field hockey. On several occasions she worked the ball all the way to midfield and with great field presence and off ball checks. She got the offensive drive started for the Vikings.
For the first 4 minutes of the game both teams traded possession between the 16 yards lines. At 11:17 Lulu Rishko’s first goal came on an assist by Haney Maney. It took MIlford until 10:36 to enter the circle but they couldn’t find the cage.
At that point, Cape took over. #6 Rishko passed to Grace Wiggins, Milford defended at the 9:50 mark, 9:20 Cape’s Hannah Maney passed to Lexi Nowakowski whose shot was saved by the Buc goalie Madison Stahl. Cape came back again at 8:14 when Addison Basile entered the circle and shot but it went out off a Milford stick, Cape ball. At 7:50 Cape was back in the circle but Milford’s defense stayed strong and defended. Finally at 7:09 Cape’s Nowakowski scored putting the Vikings up 2-0.
They didn’t stop there. 5:10 Cape found its first penalty corner. Devon Degregory inserted the ball to Wiggins but her shot was called too high and dangerous. Atia Sabbaugh got involved on offense with a pass to Avery Miller whose shot was wide. The Bucs found the circle with 3:24 on the clock when Hannah Zimmerman’s efforts were thwarted by the Cape defense of Devon Degregory, Lina Frederick, and Lulu Rishko. With just 2:29 left in the first quarter Cape’s second corner of the night resulted in a huge save by the goalie and another defensive stop by Milford.
Fast forward to 35 seconds on the clock when Cape’s Wiggins created the third penalty corner. DeGregory inserted a pass to Wiggins who passed to Maney who assisted and sent the ball to Atia Sabbaugh who hit the back of the cage with no time left. Cape 3 Milford -0.
In the second quarter, Milford adjusted and the mystique of playing Cape in Champions Stadium wore off. The Bucs came out and meant business. 13:24 Madisyn Hitchens drove to the circle, 11:56 GK Stahl saved a shot by Nowakowski, 9:05 #9 Hannah Zimmerman shot but Cape’s GK Morgan Newcomb saved the shot. They bounced around midfield for the next 4 minutes and at 5:52 Milford’s Molly Masten found the circle but DeGregory intercepted her and brought the ball out to the 25 yard line.
4:07 Zimmerman drove to the circle and DeGregory got beat on the tackle resulting in the first corner for Milford. Molly Masten inserted a pass to Erin Dunlap who passed to Hitchens. There were two shots on goal and Newcomb saved them both. 3:04 on another Milford corner the ball was passed from Masten to Zimmerman (assist) to Dunlap for a goal with 2:35 on the clock. Cape 3 Milford 1.Cape quickly answered and with 45 seconds on the clock Avery Miller wheeled and dealed her way to the circle to score unassisted. Cape 4 Milford 1 going into the half.
Cape would completely dominate the third quarter holding Milford to zero shots on goal. At 10:28 a Cape corner created an assist for Maney and a goal for DeGregory, who as a defender had 7 goals coming into tonight’s contest. Nowakowski shot next but Stahl saved it. As frustration set in, the Bucs got carded twice this quarter which put them a player down. Another Nowakowski shot would get blocked and two attempts by DeGregory would be saved by Stahl. Cape came out in the fourth and kept shooting. 2 blocked shots at the 12:50 mark, three corners in a row but they couldn’t convert. Milford finally got a shot off at 5:39 when Hitchens took her chance but Newcomb saved it.
Four more Cape shots would be defended. Then Hannah Zimmerman ran the table, about 60 yards, and scored on a nice reverse shot on GK Anna Lopez (:35).
Once again, Cape responded with a goal with 14 seconds left in the game by sophomore Regan Best (assist Wiggins). Cape 6 Milford 2 as time ran out and so did Milford’s undefeated run this season.
Coach Kate Austin was proud of her team’s defensive execution but said they need to work on shot execution. “The game was won in the midfield tonight and with stick to stick passes.” She thought they played well and kept their heads in the game, but felt that two goals scored on 4 shots was unacceptable.
Hannah Maney said she was able to move the ball down field so effectively tonight because their defense was collapsing and she had the off ball check to see her open forward that could drive to the baseline and go to goal. The University of Iowa commit said they have been working on their corners and felt it was easy to adjust to the passing schemes to open shots.
Devon DeGregory, a Salisbury University commit, is the Delaware Live-302 Sports Player of the Game. Devon is the center back and worked so well in transition tonight. She felt the best part of her game tonight was trusting her left and right backs to be in position so she could move up. Devon was able to carry the ball to midfield on several occasions because she said she knew if she came up, they would drop in behind her to cover on defense. When asked, she said she has been working on her ball patterns and give and go’s to get the ball upfield quickly. She said she was able to overstep Milford and get the ball to the middle.
Milford 4 shots on goal, 2 goals. Q1:Dunlap 2:35; Q4: Zimmerman:35 Cape Henlopen 25 shots on goal, 6 goals. Q1: Rishko,L (Maney), 11:17; Nowakowski, 7:09; Sabbagh (Maney), 0:00; Q2: Miller: 35; Q3:DeGregory( Maney), 9:53; Q4:Best( Wiggins), :14
Saves: Milford: Stahl, 16 Cape: Newcomb, 2 Lopez, 0
Milford (6-1) Faces Smyrna 10/3 and St. Mark’s 10/10
Cape (6-1) Faces Tower Hill 9/30, CR 10/3, and Sussex Academy 10/10
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