CLAYMONT – The gray skies and light drizzle were an apt setting for the first-round field hockey playoff battle between Polytech and Archmere on Nov. 9, at least from the Auks’ perspective. The Panthers scored 15 minutes into the first half of the defense-dominated game, and that held up for the 1-0 win.
Much of the early portion of the contest was played near the middle of the pitch, although 10th-seeded Polytech managed a deflected shot off a penalty corner 12 minutes in. They capitalized on an opportunity three minutes later, as Lacy Bayley was able to convert a crossing pass from Madilyn McKay at the 14:32 mark. Bayley took the pass, turned and beat Archmere goalie Mady McDougal to the far corner.
The Auks, seeded seventh, had three penalty corners in the final eight minutes of the half, but they were unable to find the cage. They had more chances after halftime, forcing the Panthers’ defense and goalie Holly Rembold to make some key saves. One shot was deflected over the end line, and on another, defender Camryn Dennis stopped an Auks shot with the shaft of her stick. Rembold threw in a kick save with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Archmere continued to press in the closing minutes. Off a penalty corner, Leah DaCosta picked up a loose ball, only to have Rembold make the save. Lorin Donovan sent another shot off the side of the cage.
Archmere was credited with two shots on goal to Polytech’s seven, and the Auks earned nine penalty corners, while the Panthers had five. The Auks finished their season at 11-5. Polytech improved to 11-4-1 and will travel to No. 2 Caravel on Saturday at 2 p.m. in one of the quarterfinal-round matchups. The other quarterfinals, all on Saturday, are No. 1 Padua vs. No. 8 Wilmington Friends at Caravel at noon; No. 5 Cape Henlopen at No. 4 Tower Hill at noon; and No. 6 Milford at No. 3 Delmar at 1 p.m.