CLAYMONT — Saint Mark’s and Archmere girls soccer teams both entered their match on April 21 undefeated, and with 15 minutes to go, they were tied, 2-2. The Spartans, however, ended any thoughts of overtime, scoring three times in a seven-minute span for a 5-2 win on a sunny, warm afternoon on the turf at Coaches Field.
Saint Mark’s held a 2-1 halftime advantage and nearly added to it just a few minutes into the second. Lily Phillips was taken down 30 yards out, drawing a yellow card. Her free kick clanged off the crossbar, and the game remained tied. The Spartans kept knocking on the door, forcing Auks goalkeeper Gabriela Fernandez to make a stop in the 45th and another on a direct free kick moments later.
The Auks turned the tide. Fernandez made a spectacular point-blank save in the 49th, and Archmere took the ball the other way. Haley Schleeweis had possession down the line, and Lyla Bell knocked her crossing pass into the net to even the score.
For the next 15 minutes, the teams traded opportunities. An Auks free kick went wide. Emma Manley broke free down the left side for Saint Mark’s, and her sharp-angle shot got through Fernandez and rolled tantalizingly along the goal line before being cleared. The Auks nearly took the lead on a header, but it went inches wide. A few minutes later, the Spartans countered on an Archmere free kick, but their shot was just wide.
Finally, in the 65th minute, the Spartans found an answer. Phillips inbounded a corner kick into the box, and Katie Lennon sent a header through the crowd into the net for the go-ahead tally. Saint Mark’s rode that momentum for an insurance marker two minutes later. This time, Phillips won a loose ball and passed to Manley, whose shot to the far side of the goal made it 4-2.
The scoring ended in the 71st. Lennon stole an Auks pass and sent the ball ahead to Phillips, who deked two defenders and found herself one-on-one with the keeper.
The three-goal margin was not indicative of how most of the afternoon went. The Spartans came out with the early jump, and they earned two corner kicks in the first five minutes. While they could not convert, their aggressiveness paid dividends in the sixth. Whitney Evancho came up with a steal and fed Manley for the first goal.
Archmere did a good job defending, and a steal in the 16th minutes turned into the equalizer. Alexis Kohl got the goal, working her way around two defenders and hitting the far side behind Spartans keeper Marissa Cirillo.
Phillips gave Saint Mark’s the lead in the 36th, burying a shot high into the net after a crossing pass deflected off the keeper’s hands.
Final statistics were not available late Friday. The Spartans (7-0) will play St. Elizabeth on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. at Banning Park. Archmere (6-1) hosts undefeated Caravel on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.