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Caesar Rodney High School edges Archmere Academy with late goal in girls lacrosse battle: Photo gallery

The Auks' Claudia Koch (19) holds the ball behind the Caesar Rodney net. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

CLAYMONT — Delaney Miklus scored a free-position goal with 1:21 to go as Caesar Rodney finished up a strong second half with an 8-7 girls lacrosse victory at Archmere on April 22. With the win, the Riders remained undefeated against in-state competition this season, but this was, by far, the closest.

Both teams entered the game averaging nearly 15 goals per contest, but it seemed clear early on that scoring would be more limited in this one. Auks goalie Ellie DiCarlo stopped a Riders shot on their first two possessions of the afternoon, and CR also sent a few shots high and wide.

The Auks did not have as many opportunities, but they took advantage midway through the first. Archmere appeared to have scored, but a foul on the Riders wiped off that goal, only for the Auks to earn a free-position shot. Bella Hughes moved in and sent a shot in, and this one counted for the 1-0 lead.

That was it for the opening quarter. The pace was quick, but the defenses prevented another goal until the 8:56 mark of the second, when Ciara Knapp put one in for the Auks. Knapp had started the rush in the Auks’ defensive end after a CR violation gave the ball to Archmere, and she also ended it.

The Riders ended their scoring drought three minutes later. In a sign of things to come, CR won a ground ball and turned that into a goal. On this one, Ella Brown cut through the middle and scored with 5:32 to go in the half.

The Auks took a 4-2 lead into the half. Both goalies, DiCarlo of Archmere and the Riders’ Ava Brown, added late saves.

The momentum turned in the third quarter as the Riders controlled possession much of the 12 minutes. They scored about two minutes in after winning a pair of ground balls, earning a free-position opportunity that Elle Roberts converted. Less than a minute later, Ella Brown tied the game with a bouncer on another free-position shot.

Roberts gave CR its first lead of the day with 6:59 to go in the third. The Riders took advantage of another ground ball win in their defensive end, and Roberts cashed in from DiCarlo’s left. The Riders grabbed another ground ball after the ensuing draw, but DiCarlo rejected a shot to keep the Caesar Rodney lead at one.

That save led to the tying goal. DiCarlo held the ball for about 30 seconds while looking for an outlet. She finally sent the ball forward, and Ellie DeLuca fed Knapp at the 5:14 mark.

Miklus put the Riders back on top late in the third, converting a free-position opportunity.

The teams trade goals early in the fourth, and the Auks went to work trying to once more tie the game. One Auks shot rang off a post, and a goal was waved off. Knapp finally scored, leveling the score with 4:26 to go.

DiCarlo stopped one shot after CR controlled the draw, and two other Riders shots hit the post. The Riders kept the ball out of the sticks of the Auks’ attackers, and Miklus eventually netted the game winner. Archmere did get one shot before the game ended, but Ava Brown made the save.

Ella Brown led the way with three goals for the Riders, who outshot the Auks, 17-10. Ava Brown had four saves. The Riders (7-2) visit the state’s top team, Cape Henlopen, on Wednesday at 4:45 p.m.

Knapp finished with four goals for the Auks, and DiCarlo had six saves. Archmere (5-3) begins a three-game road trip on Thursday at Wilmington Charter at 3:45 p.m.

Photos by Mike Lang.