CAMDEN-WYOMING – Archmere made the trip south from Claymont on April 30 to battle Caesar Rodney in a top-5 boys lacrosse showdown, and the Auks, ranked fifth in the state by DelawareLive, made sure the trip was worth the time. They controlled the fourth-ranked Riders in all aspects of the game and left with a 15-4 win. The Auks improved to 8-1.
This one was all Archmere from the get-go. Sophomore Jack O’Neill set the tone with one faceoff win after another, and he turned a few of those into his own goals. When O’Neill was not scoring, he was setting up teammates such as Tyler Allison and Dan Kupiec. Archmere’s success started early on.
O’Neill won the opening faceoff, and just 37 seconds into the contest, he beat Riders goalkeeper Dylan Bennett for the 1-0 lead. Just under two minutes later, Allison picked up his first assist of the night as he took a ground ball and fed Drew Duncan.
Bennett and Auks keeper Conor France made their presence known time after time in the opening quarter, turning away a number of quality shots. Those two goals were the only ones in the quarter.
As fast as he scored in the first, O’Neill was even quicker in the second. He scooped up the faceoff and streaked toward Bennett, sending in a bouncer a mere six seconds into the frame. The CR keeper kept it 30 with a huge save a short time later, but Ryan Farrell made it 4-0 13 seconds after that stop.
Ryan Carey got Caesar Rodney on the board with a high shot past France. That was made possible by Dane Wilson’s win on the faceoff. But the Auks answered with the next four goals and took an 8-2 lead into halftime.
The Auks’ already solid defense tightened in the third quarter. They kept the Riders off the scoreboard and prevented many quality opportunities for the hosts. Archmere turned that defense into a number of ground ball wins and intercepted passes, and they added another three goals to the lead as the game went into the fourth. Allison had two of those.
Kevin Hudson banged one in for the Riders as the fourth quarter opened, but the Auks avoided any kind of CR comeback. After Hudson’s tally, for example, O’Neill won the faceoff and ran upfield, feeding Allison for another goal that extended the advantage to nine.
O’Neill finished with a game-leading six goals. Allison added four. The Auks outshot the Riders, 35-18. France was outstanding and finished with 12 saves. Archmere hosts Tower Hill on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
For the Riders (7-3), Carey had a pair. Bennett combined with Ben Dawson to stop seven Auks attempts. Caesar Rodney meets undefeated Sanford in Hockessin on Monday at 4 p.m.
All photos by Nick Halliday.