GREENVILLE – Caroline Taylor scored late in the first half, and Ursuline was able to make that lead stand up, as the Raiders defeated Newark Charter, 1-0, in the first round of the Division II field hockey state tournament on Nov. 7 at Tatnall.
The Raiders, seeded fifth in the 12-team field, took the action to the No. 12 Patriots early, keeping their younger opponents on their heels for a while. Ursuline had two penalty corners in a 40-second span five and a half minutes in, but one resulted in a blocked shot, while the other ended with a save by Newark Charter goalkeeper Madison Soyer.
Ursuline continued with the pressure, but that first goal proved elusive. Taylor had a shot with about seven minutes to go in the half, dribbling down the right side and along the baseline before her centering pass was deflected out of bounds. Finally, with 4:43 to go, the Raiders broke through. Taylor picked up a loose ball outside the scoring circle, took the ball a few feet inside the arc and fired a shot that went off a Patriots defender’s stick and into the cage.
Anna Shearer nearly doubled the lead with just over a minute on the clock, tipping a long pass just wide of the net. Two more penalty corners in the final minute were not successful.
The Patriots came out of the intermission with renewed vigor, taking the play to the Raiders for the first time. They had two early corners; the first one ended with an Ursuline violation, resulting in the second. This time, Newark Charter managed a shot, and Raiders keeper Cleo Troy was forced to make her lone save of the afternoon.
Jordan Kenney of Ursuline took a pass from Taylor 20 feet in front of Soyer five minutes into the half, but her shot hit the outside of the cage. Other Raiders attempts spread throughout the half went wide or were saved by Soyer. The Patriots nearly equalized on two occasions late in the game, but the first attempt, after the Raiders misplayed a ball deep in their own territory, ended with a violation on Newark Charter. The second was a shot deflected by a Raiders defender and Ursuline ended up with possession.
The Raiders finished with advantages in shots (14-2) and penalty corners (14-4). Ursuline improved to 12-4 and will travel to Lake Forest for a second-round battle with the fourth-seeded Spartans at 1 p.m.
Soyer finished with seven saves for Newark Charter, whose season ended at 9-6-1.
In other first-round action on Wednesday, ninth-seeded Archmere defeated No. 8 Red Lion, 3-2. Caroline Donovan had the Auks’ first-half goal, but the Lions went into the break with a 2-1 lead. Meghan Reilly scored twice in the second half, including the game-winner with 5:54 remaining. The Auks will travel from the top of the state to the bottom to meet the top seed, Delmar, on Saturday at 1 p.m.