Home Local Sports Defense prevails as Saint Mark’s, Ursuline battle to 1-1 field hockey tie:...

Defense prevails as Saint Mark’s, Ursuline battle to 1-1 field hockey tie: Photo gallery

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Saint Mark's plays the ball just outside the scoring circle. The Spartans and Raiders played 15 extra minutes but could not determine a winner. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — Saint Mark’s and Ursuline came into their game at Serviam Field on Oct. 28 with virtually opposite records, but when it was over, there was no difference between the teams at all. Each scored in the first half, and both received outstanding defensive efforts as the game ended in a 1-1 tie on a cool afternoon in Wilmington.

The Spartans came out on fire, earning three penalty corners in the first five minutes and getting progressively closer to a score. The first resulted in a blocked shot by a defender, the second a save by Raiders keeper Sadie Young. But the third of those paid dividends. This time, the ball was chipped by Young, and Leah Pala was there to tap it in for the 1-0 lead with 9:38 remaining.

That was it for the scoring and for the most of the opportunities in the first. The second quarter began much the same as the first, with Saint Mark’s picking up three more corners, although none of those was particularly dangerous. Ursuline finally put some pressure on the Spartans late in the second, and the work paid off.

The Raiders earned a penalty corner with about 5:30 left, and Maddie Cherry sent it to the post to the right of Saint Mark’s keeper Jenna League. Sophia Filipowski was there to redirect the ball into the cage to level the score.

The Spartans appeared to score late in the half. But the shot came from outside the scoring circle, and it deflected off a defender’s stick inside the circle. For the goal to have counted, the ball would have had to hit an offensive player’s stick at some point inside the circle.

Both teams had opportunities in the second half, but the defenses ruled the afternoon. The Raiders kept Saint Mark’s aggressive forward from setting up shop in front of Young, and both keepers made clutch stops. The Spartans had a one-on-one chance with 10 minutes left, but Young made the leg save.

In overtime, with each team playing with six attackers and a goalkeeper, the field opened up, and there was plenty of up-and-down action. A steal by Filipowski resulted in a shot that went wide, and Ursuline stopped two Spartans offerings on a penalty corner later on. League came up with a final save with 11 seconds to go, and Ursuline couldn’t take advantage of a penalty corner with no time left on the clock.

Final statistics were not available Thursday night. The Raiders (4-9-1) finish the regular season on Monday at home against Delaware Military Academy, while the Spartans finished the campaign 9-5-1 and wait to learn of their Division II state tournament seeding.

All photos by Mike Lang.