For The Dialog
CLAYMONT – The St Mark’s Spartans soccer team had a tough start to the season, but they found their game a 1-1 draw against the fourth-ranked Archmere Auks on April 26. Goalkeeper Nicole Clark had a big match for the Spartans as she held the high-powered Auks offense to one goal.
The Auks controlled most of the play in the first half. Dara Dawson had a quality shot in the third minute, but Clark made the early save. Sophomore Nicole Witherell had a couple chances, including a great shot in the 38th minute but was stopped by Clark. The Auks threatened again in the 43rd, but Clark made the save as she collided with Leah DaCosta of Archmere. After shaking off the injury she had to sit out one play.
Witherell finally put the Auks on the board, taking a nice pass from Dawson and beating Clark to the far side in the 46th minute. Witherell had a great chance to extend the lead in the 58th, but this time Clark was her equal.
The Spartans had a few chances and almost got an equalizer as a St. Mark’s shot deflected off an Auks defender and headed to the top corner, but Kyra Giakas made a great save. The Spartans’ Hannah Schepers sent a free ball from 45 yards out into the box and a Spartan was taken down in the box to set up a penalty kick. Schepers took the shot and beat Giakas by placing a beautiful shot into the upper 90 in the 67th minute.
The Auks and Spartans played a scoreless first overtime, and the Auks had a chance to win it in the 96th minute when DaCosta was taken down in the box. Her penalty kick was just wide and the match ended 1-1.
The Spartans (1-5-1) were happy with the draw on the road at Archmere.
“We had a rough start to the season, but it’s gotten a lot better,” Clark said. “The team effort has been much better. The chemistry is real good as we stayed in this game with a Division II title contender.” Clark has never played keeper until this year. “I am not a goalie I just started playing from the second match, and it just psyches me up when I can make some saves for my team.”
She finished with nine saves for the Spartans. They face another tough test as they host Division I No. 5 Middletown on Friday at 4 p.m. The Auks (7-1-1) travel to Sanford on Friday for a 4 p.m. start.
For The Dialog