CLAYMONT — Archmere’s soccer team withstood a stiff challenge from Delaware Military Academy in the second quarter of the teams’ DIAA Division II state soccer tournament opener, then turned on the offense in a 5-0 victory the afternoon of Dec. 2. The Auks got four goals from Sam Gattuso to lead the way.
“Probably like three goals in my whole high school career, and I had four in this game. A complete shock,” Gattuso said.
No. 10 DMA played the first half with a stiff wind and the sun at their backs, and they pressed the Auks for a good number of the 40 minutes, particularly in the second 20-minute segment. But Archmere, the seventh seed, gradually turned the tide, and a last-minute free kick jumpstarted the offense.
Joseph Iacono lined up the free kick 25 yards and far to the left of Seahawks goalkeeper Colin Lawville. His entry kick found James Vail, who tapped it to Gattuso near the top of the 18-yard box. Gattuso struck the ball low to the right of Lawville, and with just seconds remaining in the half, the Auks had broken the ice.
“To be honest, it was a little bit lucky the way I hit it. I’m glad it went in the bottom of the corner,” Gattuso said. “The goalie wasn’t able to get to it. I think from there we got a lot of momentum, especially heading into the second half.”
The energy was definitely in their favor, and within seven minutes, the outcome was no longer in doubt. Gattuso scored in the 42nd minute when he took a long through ball from Christian Iacono and sent a left-footed shot from 15 yards out into the left side of the net.
Four minutes later, a pass from midfield was redirected by Christian Iacono to Gattuso a few yards away, and his bouncer handcuffed Lawville and found the back of the net. Within another minute, Joseph Iacono was fouled in the 18-yard box, and he converted the penalty shot to make it 4-0. Gattuso added his final goal in the 64th, getting some space and smashing a shot off the left hand of the diving keeper and into the goal.
The Auks finished with an 8-5 advantage in shots, although Delaware Military had two corner kicks to the Auks’ one. Niko Triantafillou had four saves, while Kyle Zahnow had one. Archmere (6-2-2) will play at Newark Charter on Saturday at 10 a.m. The Auks and Patriots closed out the regular season against each other, with Newark Charter taking a 2-1 win. Gattuso said the Auks will be prepared for this meeting.
“We’ve just got match their physicality. The last game we played them, we were pretty disconnected going through the middle. Our strikers were pretty isolated. As long as we play as a team and stay connected, I think we’ll be OK,” he said.
Lawville had three saves for the Seahawks, whose season ended at 5-7-1.
All photos by Mike Lang.