Delaware Field Hockey is at a fever pitch after the first round in Division 2 Wednesday Nov. 1 and Quarterifnals on Saturday November 4, along with Quarterfinal play in Division 1 on Thursday Nov. 3. Championship field hockey is always exciting and will dial up the intensity as games move to the fast turf at Rullo Stadium at the University of Delaware this week. Many teams are repeat tournament players and will use that experience to try to win and advance. Afterall, it’s a one game season at this point. Win, and the dream of being a champion lives on, or lose and go home.
Most of these teams have played on this style of turf before, either in the Turf Bowl or in the 2022 DIAA Tournament. Field conditions can make a difference. The UD turf is a wet AstroTurf where most high school teams play on Bermuda grass or a taller field turf.
Why play on watered turf? Colleges and Universities install this turf because falls on these surfaces are less likely to leave players with abrasion injuries to their skin, as the surface of watered turf is softer, easier on joints, and cooler to play on. Hockey balls move at a consistent speed on watered surfaces and offer a faster, more responsive style of play with a ball that runs more freely than it does on other field surfaces. The high school teams will have to adjust.
Division 1 Semi-Finals
4 pm Tuesday November 7 at University of Delaware Rullo Stadium
No.2 Cape Henlopen (15-1 overall) vs No. 3 Milford (14-2 overall)
These teams are no stranger to each other. A year ago, they met in the quarterfinals with Cape advancing after a 6-0 win. In the head to head regular season matchup Cape defeated Milford 6–2. To get to the Semis Cape Henlopen handled the Odessa Ducks, who had a phenomenal season, 12-0. Milford narrowly escaped the clutches of the Polytech Panthers 3-2 in overtime. Milford will need to find a way to stop Cape’s offensive attack with Atia Sabbaugh, Hannah Maney, Addison Basile, and Grace Wiggins. But most importantly how will the Bucs get past the defense of Devon DeGregory, Lina Frederick, and goalkeeper Morgan Newcomb? Milford’s Hannah ZImmerman, Isabel Betts, and Madison Hitchens will need to put the Bucs on the board and make any penalty corners count. On defense Carley Mackert and goalkeeper Madison Stahl need to play big to help their team win and advance.
6 pm Tuesday November 7 at University of Delaware Rullo Stadium
No. 1 Smyrna (16-1 overall) vs No. 5 Charter School of Wilmington (11-5 overall)
These teams have not seen each other yet this season, but I’m sure their coaches have watched film. A year ago they met at the same point in the tournament with Smyrna just edging the Force by a 1-0 score to advance. Anyone playing Smyrna needs to figure out how to contain Dru and Bree Moffett, not an easy task. Look for the long, hard drives from the Moffett sisters who are reminiscent of the Hollamon sisters when they played together at Delmar. Combine that with Ava Pierce, who has pure speed and goalkeeper Haile Geiger and you have your work cut out for you. Charter is not a team I’ve seen play in person this season but stats show a strong offensive front from Alexa Guarneri, Kelsey Shahan, Ella Stack, and Elizabeth Terravova, leading their offense in goals and assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Larysa Pohorlyo has 43 saves and has only allowed 11 goals.
Division 2 Semi-Finals
4 pm Wednesday November 8 at University of Delaware Rullo Stadium
No. 2 Delmar (15-2 overall) vs No. 3 Caravel (14-2 overall)
Delmar stands as the Division 2 State Champion, looking for number 8. Coming off the Henlopen Championship and convincing 7-1 win over Sussex Academy, the Wildcats will look to head to the finals once again. With Jordyn Hollamon leading the offense with 65 goals, more than anyone in the state, the speedy Laela Brown, Emily Bitters, and Baylie Phillips, their offense is a force to be reckoned with. Freshman goalie Marleigh Wells only has 16 saves on the season but with the talented midfield players, that’s not surprising. The Bucs of Caravel stand in their way of heading to the finals seeking another state title. Caravel, under head coach Sarah Broehl, has put together quite a season as well. Defensively they are strong. Delaney Brunner runs the defense and coordinates with goalkeeper Addison Van Rensler. Hayden and Hailey Haynes are fast. Carson Peace, Katie Cole, and Katelyn Judy will need to bring their A game on Wednesday.
6 pm Wednesday November 8 at University of Delaware Rullo Stadium
No. 1 Newark Charter (15-1 overall) vs No. 5 Wilmington Friends (14-3 overall)
Newark Charter exited the tournament last season in the quarterfinal round with a loss to Tatnall 2-1 in OT. Head coach Stacey Spiker returned all her players and that tournament experience along with another year of hockey maturity has the Patriots in the number one spot and in the Semi-Finals. Wilmington Friends are back in the semi’s for the second straight season after losing to Delmar at this point a year ago. They too will use their tournament experience to help them win and advance. Amanda Rattay leads Newark Charter in offense with 34 goals and 16 assists followed by Audrey Nelson and Sophia Orlando. I’ve watched Newark Charter and they have an offensive attack that moves the ball well. Their passing is crisp and clean and they have some speed that’s hard to stop. Wilmington Friends has Molly Dolan and Sawyer Rowland leading their offense and Junior Goalkeeper Ella Morton has 74 saves, and has given up 16 goals in regular season play.
The Finals will be held Saturday November 11, 2023 at Rullo Stadium on the campus of the University of Delaware. Game times are 12 pm for Division 2 and 2 pm for Division 1.
Fans will need to purchase tickets online for the semi-finals using this LINK
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