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Padua tackles Caesar Rodney, advances to DIAA Division I field hockey semifinal: Photo gallery

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The Pandas celebrate their second goal, which came from Shannon Salerni (facing camera) with the assist to Ava Getty (5). Dialog photo/Mike Lang

WILMINGTON — With their DIAA Division I quarterfinal field hockey game scoreless as the second quarter got under way, fourth-seeded Padua watched as No. 5 Caesar Rodney took the play to the Pandas in the early going. Three times in the first six minutes, the Riders earned penalty corners, but the Pandas’ defense was able to hold them off the board.

After the third corner, the Pandas began a counterattack. That led to a pair of corners for Padua, and on the second, Olivia Shimp was able to send a turnaround shot through the legs of CR goalkeeper Bailey Minear. That got Padua going on their way to a 4-1 win on Nov. 10 at Tower Hill School’s Richardson Field.

The Pandas advance to the semifinals, where they will meet No. 1 and defending champion Cape Henlopen. The Vikings defeated Milford, 6-0. Padua and Cape are scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Rullo Stadium at the University of Delaware.

After the first goal, the Pandas held possession most of the quarter, and they pressured the Riders relentlessly. They capitalized on another penalty corner to extend the lead. On this one, with 4:14 remaining in the half, Ava Getty took the inbounds pass at the top of the scoring circle and sent the ball to the left front corner of the cage. Shannon Salerni was all alone along the baseline, and she redirected the pass into the cage.

Padua added two more in the third quarter to erase any doubt about the outcome. Kelsey Clauss knocked in a pass from Shimp at the 9:11 mark, and on one more corner opportunity, Salerni again found the back of the net, with Getty again picking up the assist.

Minear kept it 4-0 with a pair of nice saves early in the fourth, but the Riders were unable to get anything past Padua goalkeeper Taylor Kozink until the closing minutes. Peyton Shields’ shot hit a stick on the way in and sailed in high to Kozink’s left.

The Pandas had an 18-7 edge in shots and 12-6 in penalty corners. Kozink made six saves, and Emily Coulter was credited with a defensive save as the team improved to 9-7. They played Cape at Rullo Stadium on Oct. 15, with the Vikings claiming an 8-0 victory.

For the Riders, Minear had 13 saves. Caesar Rodney finishes with a 10-6 record.

All photos by Mike Lang.