WILMINGTON – Padua entered Tuesday afternoon’s Catholic Conference field hockey matchup with St. Mark’s as the clear favorite. The Pandas came in undefeated at 5-0, ranked fifth in the state, while the Spartans had just one win against five losses. And although Padua dominated the time of possession and on the stat sheet, St. Mark’s held tough in a 2-0 Pandas win at Forbes Field.
Despite outshooting St. Mark’s in the first half, 13-2, Padua was unable to solve Spartans goalkeeper Gillian Bruce. The Pandas were not discouraged, however, and continued their onslaught in the second half. The persistence paid off a minute and a half into the second. Off a penalty corner, Molly Bobjak lined up a shot from the top of the circle. Her blast was deflected by Ashlee Brentlinger and went over Bruce’s right shoulder and into the cage, making it 1-0. Brentlinger scored a second time late in the game, this time on a feed from Abigail Boudart.
Padua (6-0) controlled the game from the outset. The Spartans’ defense, Bruce in particular, was the only reason there were no goals in the first half. Bruce had 10 saves in the half, including a nice kick save of a shot by Jill Sherman and another toward the end of the first, this time stopping Boudart. On another occasion, the Pandas had a two-on-none breakaway, but Bruce made a stop after the ball had been knocked around the crease. Bruce was credited with 10 saves in the half and 19 for the game.
Padua finished with 21 shots and 18 penalty corners. Goalkeeper Hailey Power had two saves. The Pandas are at Caravel on Friday at 3:30 p.m. St. Mark’s (1-6) had the two shots and five penalty corners. The Spartans are off until next Tuesday, when they meet Conrad at Hockessin Montessori School at 3:45 p.m.