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Early goal off corner kick stands up as Padua soccer beats Caravel in matchup of No. 1s: Photo gallery

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Colleen McClintock makes a stop for the Pandas. She finished with her ninth shutout of the season. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

BEAR — Maddie Mosier scored off a corner kick just seven minutes into Padua’s soccer game at Caravel on May 11, but that held up as the Pandas dealt the Buccanners a 1-0 defeat at Bob Peoples Stadium in a battle between the teams ranked No. 1 in Delaware in Division I and Division II by Delaware Live. The loss knocked Caravel from the ranks of the state’s unbeaten.

The Pandas were coming off their own first loss of the season last week at Saint Mark’s, and they appeared quite motivated right off the bat. Brieana Hallo carried the ball toward the Bucs’ goal off the opening tap, and her shot was knocked over the end line by a defender, giving Padua a corner kick just 15 seconds into the contest.

Lauren Duffy’s attempt off of Hallo’s inbounds pass went high, but the Pandas kept the pressure on. Another corner kick in the fifth minute was not successful, but the Pandas found the answer two minutes later. This time, Hallo’s inbounds was headed toward Bucs keeper Riley Pinato. She made the save, but the rebound found its way to Mosier, who lifted the ball into the right side of the net for what would prove to be the only goal of the evening.

It was not, however, the only opportunity. Caravel lacked chances over the first 12 minutes or so, but they earned a corner opportunity in the 13th. The inbounds was caught by Pandas keeper Colleen McClintock, erasing the threat.

The Buccaneers nearly leveled the score twice midway through the first half. A missed clearing pass in the 22nd almost cost the Pandas, but the defense was able to recover in time to clear the 18-yard box. Then, in the 23rd minute, the Bucs sent a crossing pass that was headed out of bounds off a Padua player, resulting in a corner kick. That attempt went through the crease.

Pinato kept the margin at one goal with three quality saves late in the half, and a Bucs free kick just before intermission was deflected wide.

Caravel turned up the offensive pressure in the second half. They came within a few feet of getting the equalizer in the 48th minute when a long free kick was headed just over the crossbar. Several minutes later, a long shot briefly handcuffed McClintock, but she recovered to hang on to the ball. Caitlin St. Leger missed just wide after intercepting a Pandas pass in the 61st.

The Pandas had their opportunities to extend the lead, but they could not get another goal. Hallo was just wide on one chance, and Boettcher made a save on the senior in the 64th minute. Four minutes after that, Sophia Marini got free one-on-one, but Pinato came out of her net to cut down the shooting angle and made a spectacular block on a shot.

Two more Buccaneers free kicks in the final two minutes were unsuccessful, with McClintock stopping one and the other getting headed over the end line. The final whistle blew, and the Pandas had their victory.

Final statistics were not available late Tuesday. The Pandas improved to 12-1 and will host Polytech at Hockessin Soccer Club on Friday afternoon at 4:15 for their senior game.

The Buccaneers (11-1) also wrap up the regular season on Friday, when Wilmington Charter visits for a 6:15 p.m. start.

All photos by Mike Lang.