By Mike McClure

The Delmar varsity field hockey team is coming off an unbeaten season which ended with a seventh straight state championship. Despite the loss of some key players to graduation, the Wildcats return several experienced players from last year’s team. The goal remains the same for the team.

“The goals are always the same, no matter who we lose, no matter the circumstances,” said Delmar varsity field hockey head coach Jodi Hollamon. “Our goal is always to win a state championship. It is not to go through an undefeated season.”

The Delmar field hockey team is shown in action during a pre-season practice. Photos by Mike McClure

Gone from last year’s team which went 15-0 in conference play and 19-0 overall are Josie Hollamon, Maci Bradford, Emma Price, Summer Payne, Laura Rogers, and Lilly Waters.

Among the team’s returning players are seniors Emily Bitters, Jordyn Bunting, Abygail Jamison, Brook Morris, Baylie Phillips, Regan Wells; juniors Jordyn Hollamon, Laela Brown, Tylah Brown, Kendra Faucette, Lani Howard, Emily Smith, Isabella Travers; sophomores Somer Layton, Kadence Melvin, Rylin Nichols, Ava Price, and Sam Sopourn; and freshman Hailey Ritchey.

“Our six seniors are all great leaders,” Hollamon said of the seniors, who have been with the program since eighth grade. She called them solid, dedicated, and consistent.

“It’s exciting to be the older ones,” said Bitters.

“It’s different to have to step up and lead the way,” Morris said.

“Every year they (goals) stay the same,” added Phillips.

Hollamon said the team’s younger players are motivated and are learning.

The Wildcats’ newcomers include freshmen Marleigh Wells, Evoni Brown, and Ava Price and eighth graders Zeny Hatton, Cadence Campbell, Alayna Adkins, Maggie Ford, Kennedy Harris, Kyrie Matos, Elle Preston, and Charlotte Houlihan.

“There are going to be some growing pains,” Hollamon said. “I think that it’s important they’re challenged by the older kids. They get to practice on this field. They get to experience the culture.”

Hollamon said she expects her team to experience some bumps along the way as they look to grow and learn. The team is different this year, with a new concept and players at different positions.

The veteran coach expects Lake Forest and Sussex Academy to be strong in the South while north power Cape Henlopen and Smyrna look to continue to roll.

“It helps playing those teams,” she said. “We know we are walking around with targets on our backs. We are just going to talk about game to game. We’re not going to think ahead. We’re going to keep learning and be patient.”