Wilmington Friends scored about midway through the second half of a well-played game to defeat Milford High School 1-0 in the first round of the DIAA state field hockey tournament that was delayed one day due to a nor'eastern that affected the Delaware valley region.
Friends' junior Elena Veale scored with 16:31 remaining in the contest. The Quakers' offense was putting a lot of pressure on Milford's goalkeeper Rebekah Yancek when Veale swiped the ball from a Buccaneer defender and wristed a shot from right to left for the only goal of the game.
"It is always very exciting to score a goal, especially in a tournament game. My entire team played very well today, but scoring a goal is a very memorable moment," said Veale.
"This makes me feel very accomplished, this entire season I haven't scored very much, so its really good to get that one in, when it means the most," she said.
During the first half, Milford had the better of the play, with several scoring opportunities, but were unable to get a high percentage shot in on Quaker goaltender Emily Horwitz. The 0-0 halftime score left both teams ready for action and hungry to get on the scoreboard.
"You have to play hard both halves, you can't just go out there in the first half and dominate and expect it to automatically happen in the second half, you have to give that same type of effort," said Milford coach Andrea Fleming.
"I think our defense was on fire, but our offense just could not find that spark, and they came out a lot stronger in the second half and did what they needed to do," she said.
In the second half, Wilmington Friends picked up the pace and created numerous scoring chances, especially with 21 minutes left in the game and again at the 17:17 mark when Yanacek made several fine stops.
Friends coach Anne Brooking said her players had some tournament jitters in the first half, but were able to settle down during the final 30 minutes of play. "When you get to the state tournament, it doesn't matter how good your season has been, just being in a tournament is a different vibe, and the kids, it took them a good 30 minutes to get that though their systems," said Brooking.
"In the second half, we made a few adjustments, just tactics, and it worked for us, and then they settled down and were able to get some scoring opportunities," she said.