SMYRNA — Two goals within minutes of the halftime intermission — one before and one after — were enough for Archmere in its DIAA Division II boys soccer tournament matchup with Saint Mark’s on Nov. 9. The Auks scored a 3-1 victory over the Spartans in quarterfinal-round action and will play again on Wednesday night.
The teams played a physical game on a cold night at Smyrna High School, but the action was fast-paced and included lots of scoring opportunities. That is nothing new for Archmere, which scored the second-highest number of goals of any team in the state in 2019.
The Auks started testing Spartans goalkeeper Sean Lenderman early, with Andrew Rosenbaum sending a shot on net from a sharp angle in the sixth minute. Lenderman made a diving save, but he wasn’t done. Brian Burns found himself all alone 15 yards in front of Lenderman in the 13th, but the keeper stoned the Auks’ striker. His best save of the evening, and one of the best of the season, came in the 30th minute. Lenderman dove hard to his right to snag a shot off a crossing pass, somehow keeping the ball out of the net and the game scoreless.
Angelo Sisofo of Saint Mark’s had a quality opportunity midway through the half, but his header off a free kick was swallowed up by Auks keeper Niko Triantafillou.
After a few near-misses, but the Auks got on the board in the 38th minute. Rosenbaum had a shot stopped, but the rebound bounced right to teammate Brian Burns, who buried it for the 1-0 lead.
“I think today, we played really well, especially in the first half,” Rosenbaum said. “We got a little momentum. It was good to get a goal right before halftime, and then we just kept riding the momentum into the second half with another early goal.”
As he mentioned, the Auks doubled their lead early on. Three minutes into the half, Carter Galbus corralled a loose ball and sent a turnaround shot into the net.
Lenderman kept the score 2-0 with a series of saves, including one he made while sitting on the turf. Rosenbaum had one free kick go high and another shot hit the crossbar, but he finally hit the score sheet in the 68th minute. From 19 yards out, he curled a free kick over the Saint Mark’s wall and out of the reach of a leaping Lenderman.
“I had one of those against Conrad, so I had a little bit of practice with that technique. I hit it pretty well, and I just beat the keeper with the outstretched arms,” Rosenbaum said.
Sisofo got the Spartans on the scoreboard in the 75th minute. He took a long pass about 15 yards in front of Triantafillou, and his shot through traffic reached the lower 90 to the keeper’s right. The Spartans nearly struck for a second goal a few minutes later, but Triantafillou made an outstanding diving save.
Final statistics were not available late Saturday. The Auks, who improved to 15-1, are back at Smyrna to meet Newark on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in one semifinal. Rosenbaum said the memory of last year’s semifinal loss to Wilmington Friends remains fresh in the minds of the Auks, so they aren’t taking anything lightly.
“From the first day of preseason, we’ve been talking about how we were so close to that final,” he said. “Friends is a great team, but it definitely left a sour taste in our mouths, so every day in the locker room we remind ourselves, hey, look, this is what we’re working towards. It keeps us motivated, and it has gotten us some good results so far.”
The Spartans’ season ended with a record of 10-6-1.