CLAYMONT — Archmere fell behind early against Sanford when the teams met in a boys lacrosse showdown May 7, but apparently, all the Auks needed was a break between the first and second quarters to set things straight. They scored four goals in the final 4:45 of the first half on the way to an entertaining 13-6 win.
The victory qualified as a slight upset based on the state rankings by Delaware Live. The Auks came in in the fourth spot, one behind the Warriors. Both teams delivered.
The afternoon featured plenty of big hits and the resulting ground balls, alon with goalkeepers making unlikely saves. Add to that a steady rain and some gusty wind to make it a memorable outing.
Sanford freshman Cameron Taylor kept the game scoreless early on with a pair of saves, and his teammates took advantage. With 7:14 to go in the first, another freshman, Luca Pompeii, brought the ball out from behind the net and fired a lefthanded shot from a sharp angle past Auks goalkeeper Conor France.
The Auks won a ground ball after the faceoff, and Conor Udovich fired a pass to an unmarked Dan Kupiec in front the net. Kupiec deked and sent a shot past Taylor as he was leveled from behind, tying the score.
The rest of the first quarter belonged to the Warriors. One shot banged off the crossbar, but with 2:01 remaining, Andrew Taylor connected from long distance. A faceoff violation gave the ball back to Sanford, and Pompeii scored his second of the day on a bouncer. Collin Campbell closed out the first with a ground ball win that led to a goal with 17 seconds on the clock.
France and Cameron Taylor traded nice saves in the opening minutes of the second, and neither team could generate much in the way of scoring opportunities as the stanza progressed. There was plenty of hitting, however, with sticks and the occasional body tumbling to the turf. The rain also picked up.
The Auks turned the momentum beginning with a goal by Alex Starnes on a top-shelf turnaround shot with 4:45 to go. Jack O’Neill won the faceoff, and Aidan Mahoney took the ball down the left side, cut in front and scored to cut the Sanford lead to one.
Colin Arcari tied the score with 48 seconds left in the half, sending a shot in while being flattened, and O’Neill did it himself off the next faceoff to put Archmere in front by a goal at the half.
They extended their goal-scoring run into the second half. Drew Duncan executed a double spin move in getting his first marker of the day. Sanford, however, needed just nine seconds to end the streak. Campbell won the draw and flew up the middle of the field, getting the Warriors back within one.
The Auks would add two more before the end of the third. O’Neill weaved through three Warriors and went low, and a steal by the Auks led to a pass to Vince Scibello in front, and he went high. France kept the lead at 8-5 with a huge kick save late in the quarter.
O’Neill and Duncan teamed up to seal the victory early in the fourth. O’Neill won the draw to begin the quarter, and Duncan turned that into a goal 10 seconds in. They repeated that sequence on the ensuing faceoff, getting another score a mere eight seconds later.
The Auks wore white uniforms with red letters and numbers as they celebrated their fourth annual Penna Day, held in memory of the late Anthony Penna, an Archmere junior and member of the lacrosse program who died in a car accident in 2017. Anthony’s parents, Rob and Mel, and sister Gabby, a member of the Class of 2020, were on hand to spread awareness about the Anthony Penna Charitable Fund, which raises money for local performing arts initiatives.
Duncan led the Auks with four goals, and Kupiec and Starnes each had two. The Auks had a 43-30 shot advantage, and France made 16 saves. Archmere improved to 10-1. They travel to Tatnall on Tuesday for a 3:45 p.m. matchup before closing out the regular season with three straight home games.
Pompeii had a hat trick for Sanford, and Cameron Taylor had 13 saves. The Warriors (10-1) play their next three at home, beginning Tuesday at 4 p.m. against Milford.
All photos by Mike Lang.