HOCKESSIN — Playing a final time at one of its homes away from home, the Salesianum soccer team kept up its winning ways. The Sals won their third straight with a 3-0 shutout of a pesky Brandywine team at Hockessin Soccer Club on Nov. 12.
Beginning with their next game on Nov. 16 against Delaware Military Academy, the Sals will be calling the new Abessinio Stadium home. But for one last time, they hosted a game elsewhere. They and the Bulldogs battled on a dark and dreary Thursday afternoon that included light rain. It began under cloudy skies and ended illuminated by temporary lights.
Brandywine had put together a fine season coming into its battle with the defending Division I state champions, and the Bulldogs stayed with Sallies for much of the game. In fact, the Bulldogs had the first quality opportunity of the afternoon. After a Salesianum corner kick was headed out of the 18-yard box, the Bulldogs grabbed possession and raced down the field. Max Robinson caught up to a through ball near the top of the Sallies’ box and passed to Leo Claney to his right, but the shot went just wide.
Ethan Hinds put the Sals in front in the 17th minute. He took a crossing pass from Matthew McFadden about eight yards in front of the Bulldogs’ net and headed it to the left of goalkeeper Sean McKenna. Brandywine nearly leveled the score in the final minute of the first 20-minute quarter, but Claney’s header was stopped by a diving Sam Donnelly, the Sals’ keeper.
Sallies had two opportunities to double their lead early in the second 20 minutes. First, Jake Ross beat McKenna in a race to the ball in the box, but his chip over the keeper went wide left. Two minutes later, a free kick from the edge of the box about 15 yards out rang off the left post, and the rebound was sent over the net.
It didn’t take much longer for the Sals to get that second goal. Callaghan Walsh was fouled in the box, and he calmly knocked the penalty kick into the net. The halftime score was 2-0.
Hinds nearly earned his second goal of the afternoon early in the second half. He got past the keeper, but a Bulldogs defender made a score-depriving tackle. A few minutes later, McKenna made a stellar save on Ross. Toward the end of the third 20 minutes, McKenna punched a 50-yard free kick out of harm’s way.
McKenna made two more diving saves, one on Hinds and the other on Ross, to keep the deficit at two. Three Salesianum corner kicks did not result in goals, either. But with 17 minutes remaining, McFadden blasted a shot that appeared to deflect off a defender high into the net.
The Sals had advantages of 14-4 in shots and 5-2 in corner kicks. Donnelly had three saves. Salesianum improved to 5-1 and meets DMA at Abessinio on Monday at 7 p.m.
For the Bulldogs (4-1) McKenna had nine saves. They are back in action Saturday at home at 7:30 p.m. against Conrad.
All photos by Mike Lang.