PENNY HILL – Middletown's field hockey team had seen itself on the wrong end of one-goal games in each of its six losses this season. On Wednesday afternoon, the Cavaliers found out what it was like to win by the narrowest of margins, coming within 39 seconds of a shutout in a 2-1 win over Mount Pleasant in Blue Hen Conference Flight A action.
“It feels pretty good, especially since we've had a pretty rough beginning to our season,” senior attacker Emily Saylor said. “We just wanted it so bad, we worked so hard to get the win. It wasn't just a win. It was a really big win for us.
“We were struggling, and we've just been working so hard. We're a new team kind of, we're young, and we're working to get it together.”
Mount Pleasant engineered much of the offensive pressure early, but Middletown struck first just over six minutes into the contest. The Cavaliers drove downfield, and Carly Setting threw a crossing pass that found Katie McMenamin in the circle about 10 feet from Green Knights goalie Kelsey Eroh. McMenamin's shot was low and to Eroh's right, and it was 1-0 Cavs.
That was it for the scoring until Middletown earned a penalty corner about midway through the half. This time, McMenamin had the ball on the baseline to Eroh's left. She fed Saylor in the middle of the circle, and with 14:27 to put the visitors went up, 2-0.
On the other end, Mount could not get much penetration on the Cavs' defense, and when they did, goalie Lauren Berry was there to turn the Green Knights away. Saylor said defense has been a focus for the Cavaliers.
“Be that wall and stay strong, and we did a really good job,” she said.
Mount Pleasant turned up the pressure after halftime, but the Cavaliers maintained their lead. Berry kicked away one shot after a free play by Mount, and later in the half she used her arm to reject a high attempt.
Middletown's lone win prior to Wednesday was a 2-0 shutout against Delcastle nearly two weeks ago, and it appeared this would be a repeat. But the Green Knights picked up a penalty corner in the last minute, and an Alexa Rhodunda shot from the top of the circle found its way through several sticks and eluded a sprawling Berry. Juliana Looney had the assist. But that would be it, and the Cavaliers headed back home with the victory.
Berry had eight saves for Middletown, which had eight shots to nine for Mount Pleasant. The Green Knights had seven penalty corners to the Cavaliers' four. Middletown improved to 2-6, 2-2 in Flight A and has four conference games left to try to make a run. Before that, however, the Cavaliers play a nonconference game return Monday at 6:15 p.m. against Wilmington Christian at Cavaliers Stadium.
Saylor said the Wednesday's win could be the springboard the team needs. “This proves a lot to us and gives us a lot of confidence going into our next game. Hopefully, this continues because this was like the boost that we needed.”
Mount Pleasant (4-3-1, 4-2-1 in Flight A) continue with conference play on Monday at 3:45 p.m., when A.I. DuPont visits.