WILMINGTON — One could forgive the Archmere girls lacrosse team if it felt a little shellshocked on the afternoon of April 18. The Auks, playing fellow undefeated Wilmington Charter in a key Diamond State Athletic Conference game, trailed the Force, 6-0, just seven and a half minutes in. But the Auks chipped away, getting the deficit down to one at halftime, then controlled play for much of the second half en route to a 15-12 win.
Charter dominated the draws and ground balls in the early going, scoring for the first time after a restart less than two minutes in. After that first one, the goals came pouring in. Two by Naomi Clatworthy on 8-meter opportunities just 48 seconds apart put the Force on top, 4-0, and when Tess Gatti went top shelf at the 17:33 mark on another 8-meter, the lead reached a half-dozen.
After a timeout, the Auks began their comeback. A ground ball win led to a long possession and the team’s first goal, scored by Bella Hughes cutting in front of Force goalie Kathryn Houston. Sara Denning got her scoring started three minutes later, scoring on an 8-meter, and a minute after that, she took a pass from Becca Olsen and bounced one in to cut that six-goal deficit in half.
Archmere won the next draw, and Marley Brown capitalized just 19 seconds after Olsen’s goal, but the Force were able to stop the Auks’ goal-scoring streak there. They got the lead back to four, and the teams battled until halftime. Houston made two big saves in the final minutes of the half, but Denning converted an 8-meter opportunity with 26 seconds to go until the intermission to cut the Charter lead to 9-8.
The Auks finally got the game back even four and a half minutes into the second. Brynn Bastian-Patore scored her first goal of the day on a nice pass from Olsen, who finished with six assists. With the game tied at 10, Charter had a goal disallowed, and Auks goalie Ellie DiCarlo then made a save on an 8-meter.
Hughes put the Auks up to stay with 12:51 to go, going up the middle on an 8-meter shot. That was the first of three straight for Archmere, who took a three-goal lead after consecutive scores by Denning. But the Force battled back this time. They scored twice in a 29-second span, with Elle Toth cutting the Auks’ lead to a single goal after winding her way through traffic in close, then tucking the ball into the net.
The Auks were able to control possession for much of the remaining five minutes, and they scored twice while doing to. Olsen had both tallies as she finished a nine-point day.
Denning led the team with five goals. Olsen had three goals to go along with her six assists, and Hughes also had a hat trick. DiCarlo made seven saves. The Auks (6-0) travel to St. Andrew’s on Thursday for a 3:45 p.m. matchup with the Saints.
For the Force, Clatworthy closed with six goals, while Emma Gaz had three goals and three assists. Charter fell to 6-1 and takes on Padua on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the Chase Fieldhouse.
All photos by Mike Lang.