HOCKESSIN — Salesianum and Archmere got together for each team’s final regular-season soccer game on Oct. 30, and the top-ranked squads in Division II and Division I, respectively, put on a lively battle. The Sals prevailed, 3-1, on the turf at Hockessin Soccer Club.
Ethan Hinds scored twice in a four-minute span midway through the first half, and the Sals clamped down on defense in the second half to wrap up a season in which their lone loss came to the top-ranked team in the country. The Auks defeated all comers except a Salesianum team that also is ranked nationally.
Hinds’ first goal was into a wide-open net. Andrew Blackwell saw his teammate streaking toward the Auks’ goal and sent a crossing pass on the money, and Hinds buried it for a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute.
The Sals would double their lead, but they had a few opportunities before that happened. Auks goalkeeper Nico Triantafillou stopped the Sals on one chance, and a goal was disallowed after an offside call. Blackwell also sent a shot over the net.
But Sallies connected on their next opportunity. This time, Colton Steele dribbled deep down the right side of the pitch and delivered a perfect strike to Hinds just outside the 6-yard box. Hinds blasted the ball into the twine for the 2-0 advantage.
Archmere responded in the 31st minute. The Auks earned a free kick about 22 yards out slightly to the left of Sals keeper MJ Graham. Andrew Rosenbaum drilled a laser through the wall and over the outstretched arms of Graham into the short side to cut the lead in half.
The Auks’ offensive chances were limited in the second half, but they hung close. Triantafillou stopped a header in the 42nd minute and a turnaround shot by Jake Ross two minutes later. Blackwell sent a free kick through traffic in the 42nd, but Triantafillou was there. Archmere did earn a corner kick, but Graham caught the inbounds kick on the fly.
Rosenbaum sent a shot out of nowhere just right of the net in the 70th that would have tied the game, and the Sals added their insurance goal within a few minutes. Triantafillou punched a shot over the crossbar, and on the ensuing corner kick, Blackwell inbounded through a few bodies into the crease, where Ryan Becker was waiting to knock it home.
The Sals had a few more chances to add to the lead, but the Auks’ defense was equal. Triantafillou had a highlight-reel save in the closing minutes, diving to his right to deflect a Blackwell drive over the net.
The Sals finished with a 9-3 shot advantage, and they had four corner kicks to Archmere’s three. Graham made two saves. Salesianum finished the regular season 14-1.
Triantafillou was credited with five saves for the Auks. They also completed a 14-1 regular season and allowed just six goals all season. They had posted 11 consecutive shutouts before Wednesday.
Both the Sals and the Auks will find out their postseason seedings when the brackets are announced on Friday.