WILMINGTON — Emma Gioffre found a bit of open space on the afternoon of Nov. 28, and that was all the Archmere sophomore needed to score the only goal in the Auks’ 1-0 overtime field hockey overtime win at Wilmington Charter. It was the final regular-season field hockey game in Delaware this season, and the win clinched the Diamond State Athletic Conference championship for the Auks.
The field opened up in the extra session, as the teams were reduced to six players each. Force goalkeeper Autumn Shahan was called on to make the first big save of the sudden-death overtime, but it was not the only one. Charter earned a penalty corner with about 10:45 to go, and Auks keeper Maura Smeader came up big with a kick save. Thirty seconds later, Riley Shahan of the Force had eyes on the goal, but an outlet pass just eluded her reach and rolled over the end line.
Archmere’s winner came off a restart. A pass into the scoring circle was knocked around for a few seconds before Kathleen Schaller tapped it to Gioffre. She was able to knock it past Shahan from close range, setting off a green-and-white celebration. The winner came six minutes into the 15-minute sudden death.
Wilmington Charter controlled most of the possession in the first half and into the second, and the Force had an opportunity after a yellow card resulted in a five-minute player advantage for Charter with eight minutes left in the third. Smeader made a save off a penalty corner halfway through the penalty, but otherwise the Auks were able to mute the advantage.
That seemed to light a fire under the Auks. They had seven penalty corner opportunities after the penalty expired and sent a few shots Shahan’s way. Schaller missed just wide with less than a minute remaining in regulation, and it was left for Gioffre to bring the game to a conclusion.
Final statistics were not available late Saturday night. The Auks finished the season 11-1 and will find out their seed in the Division II state tournament sometime Sunday. The Force wrapped at 7-5 and will find out Sunday if that is enough for a spot in the eight-team Division I bracket.
All photos by Mike Lang.