Tech field hockey caps regular season with 2-0 shutout of Bucs

GEORGETOWN – In a must-win situation, Sussex Tech’s field hockey squad rallied together and recorded a 2-0 shutout of Milford Thursday night to cap the 2017 regular season at 9-5-1.

Heading into the match-up, the Lady Ravens knew they’d need a victory in order to make a case for a DIAA state tournament appearance.

The girls rose to the occasion, completing a nine-win season that very well could lead to a second consecutive tournament appearance.

“It feels good to get the win. The girls have worked hard all season and they were excited for tonight, and they really brought it. Their effort turned into a win tonight,” Tech’s first-year head coach Mia Paltrineri said.

Prior to the game, Sussex Tech honored its talented group of six seniors: Libby Baird, Baylee Ketterman, Grace Lee, Ella Messick, Madison Parker and Kira Short.

Sussex Tech FH Senior Night (L-R): Libby Baird, Ella Messick, Baylee Ketterman, Grace Lee, Kira Short and Madison Parker (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Once the pre-game ceremony concluded, Sussex Tech got right to work.

Junior midfielder Morgan Johnson scored both goals for Tech, and it didn’t take her long to make her presence felt on the field.

She notched the first goal just 4:06 into the game, providing the Lady Ravens with the early 1-0 advantage.

Just over eight minutes into the second half, Johnson put her second goal of the night on the scoreboard. The defense prevented Milford from getting on the board for the remaining 21 minutes of the game, preserving the 2-0 shutout.

“I’m just so proud of everyone tonight. Defense wins championships, but offense wins games,” Johnson said following the win. “I know before the game we were all kind of nervous – last game of the season and Senior Night is always a big deal – so I’m just proud that we played level-headed and it was a good game.”

As a team, Milford earned nine penalty corners throughout the 60 minutes of play, but senior goalkeeper Grace Lee and her defensive unit refused to surrender the shutout.

“Me and my defense work really well together, we had each other’s backs and communicate very well,” Lee said. “So, I felt confident having that many penalty corners against me because I knew my defense is a strong unit and we work so well together.”

Junior Morgan Johnson scored both goals for the Lady Ravens Thursday night (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

With regular season field hockey competition continuing through Wednesday, Nov. 2, Sussex Tech will be forced to wait it out until they hear whether they played well enough to earn a DIAA state tournament spot.

Until then, Tech will continue to adjust and make improvements in practice.

“We’re forced to play the waiting game until we hear where we are,” coach Paltrineri said. “We’re just going to continue getting better and better in practice.”

“Last year we got into the tournament and kind of just let it go in the first game,” Johnson said of the team’s 2016 one-and-done tournament appearance. “I feel like if we get in this year, our heads are definitely going to be screwed on right, and I’m just excited to see where this takes us.”

“Since we don’t know who we’re going to match-up against, we just need to prepare ourselves and our own skills instead of focusing on who our opponent is going to be,” Lee said of her team’s practice approach.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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