Home Local Sports Challenging schedule helped Ursuline Academy soccer reach DIAA Division II final: Photo...

Challenging schedule helped Ursuline Academy soccer reach DIAA Division II final: Photo gallery

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Raiders goalkeeper Julia Terzaghi makes a stop during the DIAA Divison II soccer championship game against Caravel on June 1 at Cape Henlopen High School. Nick Halliday photo

Ursuline’s soccer team lost three of its last four regular-season games, but that just might have provided the Raiders with the edge they needed to make a deep run in the state tournament. Ursuline, seeded eighth in the 12-team Division II bracket, advanced all the way to the DIAA championship game, where the ride came to an end with a 3-1 loss to the third seed, Caravel, on June 1 at Cape Henlopen High School.

The final four games of the regular season were against Saint Mark’s, Sanford, Newark Charter and St. Andrew’s. The lone win came against Sanford. They would defeat three of those teams in the state tournament, and had Newark Charter not lost in penalty kicks to Caravel in the state semifinals, Ursuline would have played all four for a second time in short order.

Despite the disappointment of losing to Saint Mark’s, Newark Charter and St. Andrew’s in the regular season, Raiders coach Gino Miraglia said the team’s schedule definitely made them stronger. All six of their losses, he noted, came against teams seeded higher than Ursuline in the state tournament.

“The challenging schedule definitely helped us prepare for the playoffs,” Miraglia said. “Aside from playing against very skilled opponents and the faster pace, playing those teams again in the playoffs allowed us to make adjustments to put the girls in the best position to be the most competitive.”

Elena McAneny-Droz picked up the lone goal in the opening-round tournament match at home over Sanford. The Raiders then traveled to top-seeded Saint Mark’s. There, Zoe Carberry scored with eight minutes remaining as the Raiders upset the Spartans to advance to the semifinals. Miraglia said that win gave his team confidence that it could compete with tougher opponents.

“Saint Mark’s was skilled all over the field, but my girls worked hard to win 50/50 balls and put pressure on them for 80 minutes, which showed their resilience and true grit,” he said.

The next stop was at No. 4 St. Andrew’s, which had scored a 3-1 win against the Raiders two weeks earlier. This time, Ursuline’s Carberry picked up the only goal to keep the Cinderella ride going. Unfortunately for the Raiders, Caravel got the best of them. Carberry scored late in the title game; it was just the fifth goal allowed by the Buccaneers all season. They finished 15-0-2 with 12 shutouts, including one against Ursuline in the first game of the season back in March.

Five seniors graduated from the school hours before the championship game. Miraglia said their leadership will be missed, but the future is promising, with several core players returning.

“I know that the experience the girls had during this playoff run will serve them well as they become the new leaders of Raiders soccer,” Miraglia said.

Photos courtesy of Nick Halliday.