ALAPOCAS – After an evenly played first half, Ursuline took control of the pace and possession and prevailed, 2-0, over St. Elizabeth in girls soccer on a damp field under sunny blue skies April 4 at Alapocas Run State Park.
Ursuline came out firing in the second half, keeping the Vikings’ defense and keeper Avery Toper quite busy. In the 41st minute, the Raiders had a free kick deflected out by a St. Elizabeth player, and three minutes later, Martha Skehan hit a post from 25 yards out.
The Raiders would continue the offensive assault, but Toper stoned Ogden from 20 yards in the 45th minute, and Allie Olmstead had a shot in the 48th blocked by Toper’s left hand.
St. Elizabeth stabilized and got its best chance to score in the 52nd minute. A Raiders defender inadvertently got a hand on the ball in the 18-yard box in front of keeper Lindsay Brown, and the Vikings were awarded a penalty shot. Juliana Owens lined it up and sent the ball high to Brown’s left, but the keeper guessed correctly and knocked the shot away, keeping the game scoreless.
Olmstead, who was a force in the second half, hit a post and had two more saved by Toper before the Vikings’ Alanna Speaks broke through the Ursuline defense for a shot on Brown, who dived to her right for the stop.
The Raiders finally solved Toper in the 58th minute. Allie Kochie sent a free kick from far left of the goal into the crease, where it found Anna Garcia. The eighth-grader worked the ball around Toper to Ogden, who tapped into the open net for the 1-0 lead.
The Vikings came close to equalizing a few times, missing wide left twice and sending a free kick just over the crossbar. The single goal held until the 78th minute, when Skehan sent a ball ahead to Garcia, who was about 25 yards out. She sent a looping shot high toward the net, and it looped over the head of Toper and just under the crossbar for some insurance.
Ursuline registered 24 shots to the Vikings’ six, and the Raiders earned seven corner kicks while their opponents had three. Brown was credited with three saves. The Raiders (5-1) return to Serviam Field for a Thursday matchup with Sanford at 3:45 p.m.
Toper was outstanding for the Vikings, stopping 13 shots. St. Elizabeth fell for the first time in four games and will try to get back on the winning track Friday at 3:30 p.m. against Glasgow back at Alapocas Run State Park.