For The Dialog
WILMINGTON – Nicole Witherell had 20 saves as Archmere, the second-ranked team in Division II, picked up a big road win against Charter, 1-0, on May 13. The Auks got a goal in the 65th minute by Leah DaCosta to take the win.
Witherell has been in the field most of the season, but an injury to starting goalkeeper Kyra Giakas gave her a chance as the backstop. She was active and very good, being credited with 20 saves against the Force, the No. 3 team in Division I.
She was busy early and often in the first half, making three saves in the first 10 minutes. Archmere mounted a counterattack in the 12th minute, but DaCosta was stopped by Force keeper Jenna Lussier.
Charter would regain its offensive pressure, sending three more shots at Witherell. In the 22nd minute the Force nearly scored off a set piece, but Sheyenne Allen’s shot hit the crossbar. The Force also had six corner kicks in the first half, so a 0-0 tie may have looked good to the Auks.
The Auks started the second half with some early pressure, as Sully Boulden and DaCosta got off a couple of good shots that were turned away.
Force defender Lizzy Barrish then got behind the Archmere defense, but Witherell made her best save of the game.
The Auks almost scored off a corner set piece in the 60th minute, but Boulden’s bending shot hit the far post. DaCosta finally broke through in the 65th, taking a long pass from Kathlees Spillan and drilling a ball to the far corner with a defender draped on her.
“I was real excited I got a great long ball beat the defender one-on-one and hit a great shot to the far post,” DaCosta said.
The Force throw everything but the kitchen sink at Witherell in the closing minutes, but she kept the ball out of the goal and the Auks got the win. She got over some early nerves.
“I saw they had some open people and I was really nervous, but I made the first save then had the feeling I was going to make all the rest,” she said.
The Auks (11-1-2) finish the regular season at Dover on Tuesday night at 7. The Force (8-3-1) travel to Mount Pleasant on Monday afternoon for a 3:45 start.