MILLTOWN — Maddie Schepers scored the golden goal for Saint Mark’s in the 88th minute to give the Spartans a 3-2 overtime win over Middletown in girls soccer in the season opener for both teams on March 22.
The Spartans, one of the better teams in Division II, got off to a good start, controlling play and getting a couple of early corner kicks. Cavaliers goalie Ava Ripanti made a great save on a Schepers scoring chance in the eighth minute.
The Spartans finally got on the board in the 25th minute on a wild sequence. Schepers’ shot hit the crossbar and came back out, and another Spartans shot was saved by a diving Ripanti. Schepers, however, pounced on the rebound to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
The Cavs started to find their offense and earned a corner kick in the 28 minute, but a good chance went wide. Emma Minzer took a great through ball from Gabriella Riley and scored in the 32nd minute to even the match at 1. The Spartans answered in the three minutes later as Natalia Delgado sent one into the far left corner to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Middletown controlled most of the second half, but freshman goalkeeper Marissa Cirillo made a great save early on, and the defense cleared the ball away. The Cavs got the equalizer in the 56th minute on a tic-tac-toe passing play as Katelyn Li found Riley, who hit a cutting Minzer to tie it 2.
Both goalies made key saves in the next 20 minutes to send it to overtime. But Schepers was able to end it, staying onside to take a pass ahead of the defense and chipping the ball over Ripanti.
Saint Mark’s was outshot, 9-7, although they had five corners to the Cavaliers’ four. Cirillo had seven saves. The Spartans (1-0) host A.I. duPont on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.
The Cavs (0-1) got four saves from Ripanti. They host Archmere on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
All photos by Jason Winchell.