MILLTOWN — Saint Mark’s soccer team didn’t waste any time getting on the board against Padua, scoring the game’s first goal less than a minute in. They doubled the lead soon after, then locked down on defense as they stunned the Pandas, 3-0, on May 5.
It was the Spartans’ first win over Padua since May 16, 2011, a 2-1 overtime thriller at Hockessin Soccer Club. In fact, this game marked the first time Saint Mark’s had scored on the Pandas since May 13, 2015, an 8-1 loss at Baynard Stadium.
Spartans standout Maddie Schepers got the scoring started 30 seconds in when she took a feed from Alyssa Ruggeri and chipped a ball past Pandas keeper Colleen McClintock. Saint Mark’s was in control through most of the first 20 minutes, with Padua’s Sydni Wright interception and wide shot attempt in the 12th minute one of the few exceptions.
The Spartans doubled their lead in the 16th after a counter attack. A crossing pass into the 18-yard box smacked off the hand of a Pandas defender, triggering a penalty kick. Ruggeri did the honors, calmly sliding a ground ball into the right side of the net.
The Pandas, playing with the wind at their backs in the first half, dominated possession in the second 20 minutes, but they could not solve the Spartans’ defense and goalkeeper Marissa Cirillo. Wright sent a long free kick on Cirillo in the 27th, and another 40-yard free kick went just wide in the 35th.
The Spartans did an effective job at keeping the Pandas from getting clear looks at Cirillo, keeping extra defenders back much of the time after getting the two-goal advantage. Ruggeri added some insurance with her second goal in the 47th minute.
Cirillo was busy, stopping all 13 Padua shots on goal. Saint Mark’s had seven shots. The Spartans remained undefeated at 11-0 and are on the road for three of their four remaining games beginning Saturday at 11 a.m. at Delcastle.
Padua had five corner kicks to two for Saint Mark’s. McClintock had five saves. The Pandas (11-1) will be the home team when it travels to Caravel to meet the Bucs on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.