MILLTOWN — Padua and Saint Mark’s were tied for a short time in their girls soccer matchup on April 19, but the Spartans quickly separated themselves from the Pandas and went on to a 5-1 victory. The match featured the two defending state champions.
The Pandas’ lone goal came on a penalty kick early on, but Saint Mark’s responded with a tally on a free kick. From there, the Spartans turned to their aggressive brand of soccer to take control.
Emma Manley gave the Spartans the lead in the 20th on a shot to the right of Padua goalkeeper Ellie Semmel, and she nearly scored again three minutes later. Manley caught up to a long through ball, but her shot hit the side of the net.
Semmel kept the Spartans’ lead at one with saves in both the 28th and 29th minutes, but Saint Mark’s kept at it. The Spartans intercepted a goal kick and sent the ball into the box, where it was lofted over the keeper’s head by an unidentified player.
The Pandas had a corner kick in the 31st minute but could not convert, and a Saint Mark’s goal two minutes later was nullfied by a foul. Padua had a chance late in the half when a free kick bounced high in front of Spartans keeper Marissa Cirillo, but she was able to knock the ball out of harm’s way. A resulting Padua corner kick was cleared.
Saint Mark’s went right to work in the second half, pushing the ball ahead every chance they had. It paid off in the 42nd minute. A steal was followed by a long through ball. Manley caught up to it, deked around a defender and buried a shot into the far upper corner to increase the lead to three.
Saint Mark’s had chances to add to the lead, but the Pandas held them off. Semmel came up big in the 49th, stopping a Spartans penalty kick. She also made several more saves as the Spartans sent shot after shot her way.
Lily Phillips had the final goal of the afternoon in the 68th minute. Presley Paoli worked her way downfield and sent a shot to the keeper’s right. It hit the post and rolled right to an approaching Phillips, who knocked it into open net.
Final statistics were not available Wednesday night. Saint Mark’s improved to 6-0 and has another big game on Friday when they travel to Archmere for a 3:45 p.m. meeting with the Auks, who are also 6-0. The Pandas (4-2) are also back on the pitch Friday, visiting Ursuline at 4 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.