HOCKESSIN – In a showdown April 5 between the top two Division I girls soccer teams in Delaware, No. 1 showed there is still a gap between them and everybody else. On a cold, windy day at the Hockessin Soccer Club, Padua controlled the play from the opening tip in a 2-0 win over second-ranked Caesar Rodney.
Emily Ryjewski continued her hot start to the season, getting credit for both second-half goals, although one was an own goal by the Riders. On that one, in the 52nd minute, the play began with a direct kick by Padua from about 25 yards out. That was blocked, but the ball ended up, as so many did on the afternoon, on the foot of Mackenzie Scully.
Scully won a battle with a CR defender for possession and sent a cross to the crease in front of Riders goalkeeper Marianna Nuzzo. Instead of finding the foot of a teammate, however, a Caesar Rodney defender running toward the net had the ball bounce off her midsection and into the net.
Padua continued its offensive onslaught, somehow not scoring again until the 75th minute. Pandas attacker Megan Mallon did everything during the game except score a goal. After Padua’s first goal, she sent a header off a free kick just wide right. Several minutes later, she took a pass and drilled one inches wide right again.
With five minutes left in the contest, the Pandas mounted yet another attack. Scully once again began the play with a cross in Mallon’s direction. Mallon tipped the ball, which ended up on the foot of Ryjewski about eight feet in front of Nuzzo. The keeper stopped the point-blank shot, but the rebound came right back to Ryjewski. She did not miss a second time and doubled the advantage.
Padua may have won by a half-dozen had it not been for Nuzzo and some close calls. Nuzzo made eight saves on 19 Padua shots. Other opportunities for the Pandas traveled over the crossbar or, on one Mallon shot in the first half, off of it. Padua keeper Abigail Boudart, by comparison, was barely tested and faced just one shot from CR.
Padua is now 5-0 and returns to Virginia this Friday, taking on Broad Run at 7:30 p.m. They then host No. 4 Appoquinimink next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Independence School.
Caesar Rodney suffered its first defeat after two lopsided wins. The Riders host Smyrna on Thursday night at 7.