MILLTOWN — For much of their game at Saint Mark’s on the afternoon of Sept. 15, Archmere’s field hockey team was knocking on the door, looking for that elusive score. Finally, after sending shots toward the cage all game, the Auks got one in early in the fourth quarter, and that stood up in a 1-0 win over the Spartans.
Saint Mark’s entered the contest as the aggressor, picking up the game’s first penalty corner and several entries into the Auks’ defensive zone. But the momentum changed quickly, and from the middle of the first quarter and into the second half, the Auks were in command.
Archmere generated shots off of numerous penalty corners, and Spartans goalkeeper Jenna League was forced to make a diving stop near the end of the first quarter to keep the game scoreless. The Auks dominated the ball in the second, earning another eight corner attempts. League came up with every stop that was asked of her.
A counter in the middle of the quarter resulted in a two-on-one for the Auks, with Gioffre and Bella Dell’Oso passing back and forth as they approached League. That possession ended with a penalty corner, but there was no score at halftime.
The Spartans came out after the intermission with renewed purpose. They earned two penalty corners in the opening minutes of the third, forcing Auks goalkeeper Ava Hughes to make a pair of quality stops.
As the fourth quarter began, the Spartans found themselves shorthanded two players who had been issued green cards. Archmere capitalized. The Auks moved the ball to the left of the cage, and several players battled for possession. Dell’Oso got a stick on the ball and sent it toward the crease, where Gioffre was stationed in perfect position to tap the ball in. The goal came with 10:38 to play.
Saint Mark’s swung the momentum back in their favor as the fourth progressed, and they pressured Hughes with several shots down the stretch. But the Auks regained possession with about two and a half minutes to go and did not relinquish it.
Archmere had a 19-5 advantage in penalty corners. Hughes had eight saves, and she had help from Kathleen Schaller (two defensive saves) and Becca Olsen (one defensive save). The Auks (3-0) play three of their next four at home, beginning Monday at 3:45 p.m. against Wilmington Christian.
League had a big day in the cage for Saint Mark’s with 14 saves. The Spartans (2-1) visit Tatnall on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.