WILMINGTON – Padua went into the DIAA Division I girls soccer state tournament as the top seed in the eight-team field, and the Pandas justified their position in the postseason opener, a 7-0 defeat of No. 8 Concord at Abessinio Stadium on May 21.
Padua overwhelmed the Raiders, who made the tournament for the first time since 2017. The Pandas controlled the ball for nearly all of the game’s 80 minutes, and they didn’t take long to make their mark on the scoreboard.
In the fourth minute, they found the net for the first time. Haley Dougherty took a crossing pass from Brieana Hallo in the 6-yard box and sent the ball over the line. The Pandas continued their offensive assault, missing several shots wide and a few high, with Raiders goalkeeper Roxxie Rainier also coming up with a bunch of quality saves. One of those came against Pandas sniper Sydni Wright, whose booming shot from 35 yards found the keeper’s waiting hands.
But there was nothing the keeper could do in the 26th. Hallo inbounded a corner kick, with the resulting shot ringing off the post. Lauren Duffy was there to knock the rebound high into the net for the 2-0 lead. Maddie Mosier got the assist.
Six minutes later, Skylar Salvo blasted a shot off Rainier’s hands and the crossbar, but Anna Poehlmann was there to send the rebound home. Poehlmann got another one in the 38th, taking a pass that was chipped along the end line by Sophia Marini over the Raiders’ keeper to the head of Poehlmann, who had empty space in front of her.
The Pandas added three more in the second half. Salvo went off Rainier’s hands to the far left corner in the 46th minute. Wright also sent one to the far left in the 50th, and Mosier finished the scoring in the 54th.
The Pandas had 24 shots, and goalkeeper Colleen McClintock stopped Concord’s lone attempt. Padua also had a 7-0 edge on corner kicks. The Pandas (14-1) advance to a semifinal on May 25 at 4 p.m. at Abessinio. They will face the winner of No. 5 Middletown vs. No. 4 Wilmington Charter, who meet Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Caravel Academy.
Rainier had 11 saves for the Raiders. Concord’s season ended with a 9-6-1 record.
All photos by Jason Winchell.