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Seeing-eye shot stands up for Chantilly (Va.) in soccer win over Padua

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PIKE CREEK – Padua resumed its challenging soccer schedule the afternoon of April 13, but on this occasion the Pandas came up just short. A goal in the 51st minute was enough to carry unbeaten Chantilly (Va.) past Delaware’s top-ranked Division I team, 1-0, on a sunny, warm afternoon at Goldey-Beacom College.

Padua got off to a fast start, getting a breakaway chance in the fourth minute of play. But the Pandas’ Paige Kenton and Chargers goalkeeper Ashley Burns converged at the ball at the top of the 18-yard box, and the keeper was able to knock the ball out of harm’s way.

Chantilly gained the momentum shortly thereafter and rarely relinquished it for the balance of the first half. The Chargers had a few chances, sending one long shot over the net and having a free kick cleared by the defense. Pandas keeper Katie Szczerba was called on to make a number of saves.

When they had the ball, the Pandas struggled to find any consistency on offense. Kristi Cox did manage a shot on goal in the 35th, but Burns was her equal.

Szczerba kept the game scoreless in the opening minute of the second half, stoning Chargers striker Serena Pham from about 15 yards out. Brentlinger nearly put a goal on the board in the 46th, but her left-footed offering rolled about a foot wide.

The Chargers finally broke through in the 51st as Aria Nagal found some space, dribbled around a defender to the top of the box and sent a seeing-eye shot that eluded Szczerba’s outstretched hands and tickled the underside of the crossbar.

The goal seemed to energize the Pandas as much or more than their competition. Padua increased the pressure on offense and went to work looking for the equalizer. A free kick ended up on net in the 60th, and Paige Kenton had a shot stopped in the 61st. A few minutes later, a pass intended for Pandas freshman Sophia Marini ended up going on Burns.

The Pandas earned the first corner kick of the game for either team in the 72nd minute. That was cleared, but the Pandas got another a minute later. This time, Burns reached out and punched the ball away from the Pandas’ attackers. The offensive pressure included three more corners and a big save by Burns on a shot from Brentlinger.

Statistics were not available for this game late Friday night. Padua, playing its third game of the week, fell to 5-1. The Pandas meet Appoquinimink on Monday at 3:30 p.m. at the Hockessin Soccer Club.

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