The Delmar varsity field hockey team, which went 13-0 and 18-0 on the road to its third straight state title last season, lose key players Ashlyn Carr, Hailey Bitters, Jordan Moore, and Angelina Arter to graduation. Despite those losses, the Wildcats have a large group of returning players who will look to carry the torch.
Among the returning players are seniors Ashlyn Cave (defense), Morgan Fletcher (midfield), Taryn Houlihan (midfield), Mya Kemp (midfield), Natalie O’Leary (GK), Gladis VanGessel (defense), Logan Walls (attack); juniors Morgan Bradford (attack), Logan Dean (defense), Payton Lynch (attack), Madison Moore (defense), Olivia Twilley (midfield); sophomores Kelly Davis (GK) and Ella Shockley (midfield); and freshmen Maci Bradford (attack) and Josie Hollamon (midfield)/
“We’ve been doing this for five years now. We’re hoping for another ring to finish it off,” said Fletcher, a senior co-captain. “This year we’re going to play Delmar field hockey and if we do that hopefully everyone will turn our the way we want it to.”
“We know we have a big target on our back. Every game is a big game,” senior co-captain Kemp said. “It’s (being a senior leader) completely different. We used to look up to girls like us.”
Head coach Jodi Hollamon expects the seniors and underclassmen to fill the leadership roles. “There’s different types of leaders both on and off the field,” said Hollamon.
“We have a good mix from all the classes. We’re looking for all of those girls to step up,” Hollamon added. “We have the talent, we’re not quite as deep.”
The team’s newcomers include: freshmen Laura Rogers (midfield/defense), Lilly Waters (attack), and Summer Payne (GK).
“We have the experience (fifth year of varsity), we’re just trying to help the younger ones and set higher goals,” said Fletcher.
Hollamon sees Lake Forest, the only team in the South with a turf field, as the Wildcats’ top competition in the South. The Wildcats also face Henlopen North foes Cape Henlopen, Sussex Tech, Dover and Polytech and also have non-conference games against Notre Dame Prep, South River, and Kent Island, who were all Maryland state champions last year.
“We have a pretty tough schedule this year,” said Hollamon, who believes the non-conference games will help the team prepare for conference contests and beyond and will show if the team can handle pressure. “That’s how you get better, to be the best you have to beat the best. We have to work hard to win. Winning is not a given for anyone.”
The Wildcats open the season on Sept. 6-7 against South River and Notre Dame at DE Turf. Their first home game isn’t until Oct. 2 against Laurel.