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Catholic schools gear up for girls state soccer tournaments

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For The Dialog

 

The girls’ soccer state tournaments start on Saturday as the Division II first round kicks off. The tournament has eight teams in Division I and 12 teams in Division II.

The Division I team to beat is the second-seeded Padua Pandas. The Pandas (12-2-1) went 12-0 against teams from the First State. In those 12 matches they outscored their opponents, 56-1.

Julia Detwiler is one of Padua's weapons as the Pandas head into the state tournament. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

Julia Detwiler is one of Padua’s weapons as the Pandas head into the state tournament. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

They are led on offense by seniors Emilia Ryjewski, Julia Detwiler and Lindsay Machamer. They also get solid contributions from Ashlee Brentlinger, Anne Brush and Arryana Daniels. The Pandas’ defense is strong, led by Camryn Scully, Daniels and Anastasia Mavridis. Goalkeeper Katie Szczerba has a powerful boot and made several key saves all year.

The Division II field has three Catholic schools in the field. The Ursuline Raiders (11-4) earned the fourth seed and a first-round bye. Junior Allie Olmstead and eighth-grader Anna Garcia pace the offense. This year they have had senior Lindsay Brown in goal, and she has been strong against top-10 teams. The Raiders will face the winner of No. 5 Delmar vs. No. 12 St Elizabeth in the quarterfinals.

Ursuline and St. Elizabeth met in the regular season and are both in the playoffs. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

Ursuline and St. Elizabeth met in the regular season and are both in the playoffs. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

The Vikings (8-7) made the tournament thanks to a couple of big wins to close the season. They defeated Delaware Military Academy and Sanford to wrap up the regular season. A pair of seniors, Abigayle Gant and Alana Speaks, have had standout seasons on offense for the Vikings. Avrey Toper has had an MVP year in goal for the Vikings, keeping them in most matches.

St. Elizabeth begins its quest for the championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Delmar at Milford High School at 1 p.m. It is the second game of a doubleheader, with DMA and Lake Forest opening up at 11 a.m. Tickets are $5.

The Archmere Auks are the eighth seed but are coming into the tournament with a huge overtime win over Wilmington Charter. The Auks (9-5-1) are led on offense by Nicole Witherell, Leah DaCosta and Dara Dawson. The Auks defense has been strong this year, and goalkeeper Kyra Giakas has been outstanding.

Leah DaCosta (right) is one of Archmere's principal weapons. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

Leah DaCosta (right) is one of Archmere’s principal weapons. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

Archmere played a very strong schedule this season, including games against D-II top seed Caravel, Wilmington Friends, DMA, St. Elizabeth and Ursuline, and they also battled Division I tournament teams Padua and Wilmington Charter.

The Auks also are in action on Saturday, facing No. 9 St. Georges at 11 a.m. at Caravel. That game will be followed by Tower Hill vs. Friends at 1 p.m. Tickets to the doubleheader are $5.

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