Home Local Sports Saint Mark’s soccer scores two late goals to edge Brandywine: Photo gallery

Saint Mark’s soccer scores two late goals to edge Brandywine: Photo gallery

The Bulldogs' Drew Manocchio is surrounded by green jerseys. Manocchio scored one of Brandywine's goals. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

MILLTOWN — Saint Mark’s soccer team can be described using many words, but “boring” is definitely not one of them. For the second time in the past three games, the Spartans went down to the wire, this time defeating a talented Brandywine squad, 3-2, with two goals in the final 10 minutes, including one deep into extra time.

The Spartans improved to 4-0 in their first home contest of the season.

Playing on a chamber-of-commerce perfect afternoon, the Spartans and their visitors from north Wilmington went up and down the field nearly the entire game. The constant attacking by both teams produced several quality scoring chances, near-misses and diving saves. Each team scored once in the first, with Saint Mark’s Kieran O’Connor finding the net early after a torrid start, and the Bulldogs’ Gerson Vasquez-Raudales equalizing in the 20th.

The Bulldogs managed the first opportunity of the second half, with Ajani Landy taking a through ball and sending a shot wide of the net. After that, however, the Spartans regained momentum.

A free kick in the 45th minute rolled through a myriad of bodies before Bulldogs goalkeeper Sean McKenna made the save. A minute later, he added a diving stop. Jeremy Shannon came within a whisker of putting Saint Mark’s back on top, but McKenna was able to deflect his 15-yard shot over the crossbar.

On the ensuing corner kick, McKenna made a stop and sent a booming outlet kick downfield, where Drew Manocchio caught up to it about 25 yards in front of Spartans keeper Ryan Betts. Manocchio had a wide-open look and didn’t miss, beating Betts low to his left to put Brandywine on top for the first time at 2-1.

The Spartans kept up their attacking style, and it nearly paid off in the 57th when Jude Rykaczewski headed a crossing pass a bit high and wide. A corner kick in the 58th yielded the same result.

McKenna continued his solid play, stopping a few more attempts before Saint Mark’s finally forged a tie in the 71st. Matthew Cox sent a long ball into the 18-yard box, where Thomas Stanley picked it up and drilled a low left-footed shot in to make it 2-2.

Over the next nine minutes, the Spartans missed on a free kick from 40 yards, headed a corner kick just wide, and sent a free kick from long distance through traffic right in on McKenna. They kept possession with several skilled tackles, and the defense paid off in extra time. On one of the tackles, the Spartans sent the ball forward to O’Connor, who fired a shot on goal. McKenna made the initial stop, but the ball rebounded directly to Nick Rocco, who was closing in from the other side. Rocco smacked the ball into the back of the net, and the Spartans had the lead.

The Bulldogs had one more chance, however, but Betts – looking through several bodies – came up with a save on a free kick.

Saint Mark’s had an 8-5 shot advantage, and all nine of the game’s corner kicks. Betts finished with three saves. The Spartans remain at home this Saturday, when Archmere visits for a noon start.

For the Bulldogs, McKenna was credited with five saves. Brandywine (2-2) is off until next Tuesday, when they travel to McKean at 4 p.m.

Photos by Mike Lang.