CLAYMONT — Saint Mark’s girls soccer team brought its unblemished record to Coaches’ Field at Archmere on May 14, and the Spartans’ high-powered offense had another banner day. Alyssa Ruggeri and Maddie Schepers each had three goals in a 6-0 shutout of the Auks.
Few teams have had an answer for Ruggeri this season, and the senior struck first for the Spartans. She took a long through ball in the ninth minute from Schepers, deked around Auks keeper Abigail Jones and knocked it into the open net. Ruggeri struck again five minutes later. This time, a Spartans defender stripped the ball from an opponent and lofted an outlet the other way. Ruggeri caught up to it, dribbled to within several yards of the keeper and scored far side.
Schepers scored the next two goals. The first came in the 28th minute and followed a turnover. Ruggeri picked up the assist, sending a centering pass to Schepers, who kept the ball low into the net. The goal in the 37th was more impressive. Schepers intercepted a pass on the Spartans’ defensive side of midfield, ran around and through several Archmere players over the next 40-plus yards, and sent a pinpoint shot into the far left side of the net.
The Auks regrouped at the half, and they came out with renewed energy. A few minutes in, Juliana Witherell sent a shot off the football crossbar, and Anna Garcia followed with a blast that was just a bit high.
Schepers picked up her hat trick in the 55th. A foul led to a 27-yard free kick, and the junior sent a seeing-eye shot into the upper 90. Ruggeri completed the scoring with her third; that one came in the 69th minute.
The Spartans’ defense was stout all day, but the Auks had a few opportunities as the game progressed. Garcia nearly earned a penalty kick in the 65th when she was tackled illegally, but the referees ruled that the contact was initiated outside of the 18-yard box. Her 19-yard free kick was just wide. Two late corner kicks were unsuccessful, as one resulted in another shot off the football crossbar, and the other was just wide.
Final statistics were not available early Saturday. Saint Mark’s finished the regular season 15-0, and the Auks are 10-2 after their first loss since March 26. Both teams will be high seeds in the Division II state tournament bracket when it is announced this weekend.
All photos by Mike Lang.