WILMINGTON — Padua’s girls soccer team scored a first-half goal, then threw up a brick wall of a defense in the second half and took a 3-0 victory at Wilmington Charter on April 28. The Force were the last team to defeat the Pandas; that came late in the 2019 season.
On a warm afternoon – the first day Delaware’s high school athletes were allowed to play without a mask – the teams struggled to get anything going offensively in the first half. There were a few momentum shifts during the opening 20 minutes, but few shots. Both keepers – Emma Brown of the Force and the Pandas’ Colleen McClintock – came up with saves about 10 minutes in, and Charter sent a shot off the post in the 13th.
Most of the action moved to the middle of the field until the closing minutes of the half. In the 38th minute, Ryan Mundy of the Force had a shot blocked by a defender, and the Pandas went on a counter attack. A long pass from Sophia Holgado found Brieana Hallo about 20 yards out but at a sharp angle to the left of the net. That was not a problem for the Pandas’ sniper, whose seeing-eye shot found an opening for the 1-0 lead.
Padua generated a bit more pressure in the second half, most of it emanating from their defense. The Pandas’ back midfielders and defenders kept the Force far away from McClintock.
The defense paid dividends in the 48th minute, when the Pandas intercepted an outlet pass and went to work. Sophia Marini fed Holgado, who dribbled past a defender and beat Brown one-on-one to double the advantage. Marini earned another helper in the 71st, after the Pandas stole another pass. She got the ball to Maddie Mosier, who went short side.
Padua outshot the Force, 13-4, and had the game’s only two corner kicks. McClintock had three saves. The Pandas improved to 9-0 and will host MOT Charter on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Hockessin Soccer Club.
Brown finished with eight saves, including a one-handed stab on a Hallo blast late in the second half. The Force (6-3) play the second of four straight home games on Friday against Middletown at 3:30 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.