Archmere earned the No. 2 seed in the Division II girls soccer tournament, the highest seed among the three Catholic schools in the two postseason brackets. The Division II tournament, which includes 12 teams, opens on Saturday with four first-round matches.
St. Mark’s joins the Auks in the Division II tournament. Padua, the defending Division I champ, earned one of the eight berths in that bracket.
The Auks finished the season 13-2, with the losses coming to the teams seeded first in their respective brackets. Caravel, No. 1 in Division II, snuck by the Auks, 1-0, while Division I No. 1 Wilmington Charter shut out Archmere, 6-0. The Auks have several impressive wins against a challenging schedule, including an overtime win over Divisipn I No. 3 seed Middletown on May 14.
Archmere has gotten solid defense, including from goalkeeper Abigail Jones. The Auks allowed just 11 goals all season, and only five aside from the Charter loss. Offensively, several players provide a finishing touch, particularly Anna Garcia and Karena Wursthorn. They have a first-round bye and will take on the winner of Newark Charter vs. Brandywine on May 23 at 8 p.m. at Caravel.
The Auks were eliminated in the first round last season. The school has reached the final twice, in 2004 and 2014.
St. Mark’s is the ninth seed and returns to the tournament for the first time since 2013, the last season with one division. The Spartans posted a 10-5 record this year, their best since 2010 when they went 10-3-2. Just two seasons ago, the Spartans were 3-11-1.
This season, four of the five losses came to teams playing in the postseason. The most potent offensive weapon is freshman Maddie Schepers, who set a single-season scoring record for the program this year. She gets support from junior Taylor Sparks and freshman Kelly Barker, among others. Serena Pluta has been stout in goal.
The Spartans take on defending Division II champion Delaware Military Academy, the eighth seed, on Saturday at Caravel at 5 p.m. The winner faces No. 1 Caravel next week. St. Mark’s has a proud history in girls soccer. The Spartans have won five state titles (2000-03, 2008) and have reached the championship game four other times, most recently in 2006.
The only Catholic school in Division I in girls sports, Padua, enters the Division I field as the third seed and defending champ. The Pandas went 11-3 against a tough schedule that included several of Delaware’s best teams, with their two in-state losses coming at Caravel by a 1-0 score, and 2-1 in overtime at Wilmington Charter.
The Pandas feature a dangerous pressure offense that can explode at any time. Top goal scorers include Sophia Marini, Paige Kenton and Brieana Hallo, but they are not alone by any means. Defensively, Sophia Gonser has been strong in net, giving up just eight goals all season.
There are no byes in Division I, which opens with the quarterfinal round. The Pandas’ opening opponent will be sixth-seeded Polytech on May 22 or 23 at 6 p.m. at Smyrna High School. They are gunning for their state-best 10th state championship. The full brackets are below.