WILMINGTON — The soccer players from Saint Mark’s and Ursuline were having so much fun May 11 at Serviam Field, they stuck around as long as possible. Finally, after 80 minutes of regulation and nearly two full overtimes, Maddie Schepers converted a free kick from about 35 yards out in the 98th minute to lift the Spartans to a 4-3 victory.
So ended one of the most entertaining games of the girls’ soccer season, which enters its postseason next week. The Spartans and Raiders went back and forth all afternoon, with plenty of shots, corner kicks, near-misses and saves. And it started immediately after the opening whistle.
The Raiders struck first, needing just two minutes to get on the board. They earned their first corner kick of the day, and Meg Macauley’s inbounds pass was hit by Anna Querey, off a Spartans defender and into the net.
The next goal wouldn’t occur for another 20 minutes, but there was plenty of action in between. The Spartans had a corner kick that was headed wide, and another corner led to a shot by Maddie Schepers, but Raiders goalkeeper Julia Terzaghi was there for the save. Another Saint Mark’s offering bounced off a post, and one more attempt went inches wide.
Ursuline also had opportunities. A shot in the eighth minute was stopped by a post, and Spartans goalkeeper Marissa Cirillo made a save on a long Raiders free kick.
Finally, in the 23rd, the Spartans scored a goal without a foot touching the ball. Gabby Pileggi fired a throw-in pass high near the top of the 18-yard box, and the Spartans’ Ava Frohnapfel used her height to head the ball into the far corner to tie the score.
The Raiders missed an opportunity on a corner kick in the 30th, but the disappointment did not last long. A minute later, eighth-grader Zoe Carberry took a pass from Isabella Cicero and smashed a shot into the upper 90 to restore the lead. The frenetic pace continued, but the Raiders took the 2-1 lead into the half.
Three minutes into the second half, Schepers put on a show on a first free kick. Approaching the ball some 45 yards out, Schepers lofted the shot down the middle and high. The ball found a sliver of space between Terzaghi’s outstretched arms and the crossbar, again leveling the score.
Schepers nearly added another a few minutes later, but teammate Lily Phillips picked her up in the 52nd. Montana Johannsen caught up to a loose ball and sent a through ball to Phillips, whose shot low and left was true. Saint Mark’s took a 3-2 lead.
There was no panic among the Raiders, and their work paid dividends in the 58th minute. Again, they took advantage of a corner kick. Again, Macauley took the kick, and Querey was on the other end. Her close-range shot re-tied the score.
Ursuline had the best opportunity to end the game in regulation, earning a penalty kick in the 75th minute after a foul by the Spartans in the box in front of Cirillo. Sophia Filipowski, who had an extraordinary game on defense for Ursuline, took the shot. As Cirillo leaned to her right, Filipowski sent the ball straight, and Cirillo was able to shift her momentum back to her left, reach out and make the stop.
Each team had a corner kick in the first 10-minute sudden-death overtime, but there were no serious scoring threats. Terzaghi made two big saves in the second extra session, but there was nothing she could do with Schepers’ perfect placement on the game-winner.
The Spartans had an 18-14 edge in shots. Cirillo had 11 saves. Saint Mark’s (11-2) has little rest, traveling to Appoquinimink for a 6 p.m. meeting on Thursday.
Ursuline had seven corner kicks to six for the Spartans. Terzaghi stopped 14 shots. The Raiders (5-6-1) are back at Serviam Field on Friday, welcoming St. Andrew’s at 3:30 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.