WILMINGTON — The St. Elizabeth girls soccer team began its game April 9 with a bang. The Vikings streaked downfield for four goals in a five-minute span in the opening stretch en route to a 5-1 victory on an overcast, chilly afternoon at Alapocas Run State Park. It was their first win on the season.
They didn’t waste any time getting started. In the fourth minute, McKenzie Hilferty sent a crossing pass to Ellie Rock. The team’s lone senior dribbled toward the middle of the field about 20 yards in front of the net and rocketed a shot off the hand of Owls goalkeeper Joanna Yost for the 1-0 lead.
Riley Eckhardt would make her presence known over the next few minutes as the Vikings turned to a familiar rhythm to increase their advantage. Eckhardt did it on her own in the fifth, intercepting an Odyssey pass at midfield and running past a defender for a one-on-one opportunity. Her shot low and right made it 2-0.
Two minutes after that, Lillian Marchlik found Eckhardt with a through ball. Again, Eckhardt was all alone, and again, she converted the opportunity.
Rock closed out the barrage in the ninth minute. This time, Cecilia Gurczenski was the helper, sending a pass from midfield ahead to Rock, who was by herself behind the defense. She rolled in the Vikings’ fourth tally.
Odyssey got on the board in the 19th minute, as Brianna Saxton knocked a shot along the ground outside the reach of St. Elizabeth keeper Julie Aranilla.
The Vikings had more opportunities as the first half wore on, but they could not score. They earned three corner kicks, and on another occasion, Rock sent a shot past the keeper, but a defender was able to kick the ball out of harm’s way.
The second half was all Vikings. They kept Yost busy as the freshman collected save after save, including one that forced her to leap and stretch as high as possible to make a stop. Hilferty picked up the lone goal of the half, burying a goal top shelf from 25 yards in the 53rd minute.
St. Elizabeth finished with a 21-3 shot advantage and had five corners to none for the Owls. Aranilla had one save. The Vikings (1-5) travel to Caravel to meet the Buccaneers on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
For the Owls (2-3), Yost had 14 saves. The visit First State Military on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.