The A.I. duPont girls’ soccer team improved to 2-0 on the season thanks to a 3-0 victory over Appoquinimink on Wednesday night in Middletown, Del.
The Tigers’ began the season with a hard-fought victory over Smyrna on Monday coming back from a 1-0 first half deficit thanks to two second half goals.
On Wednesday night, the Tigers’ made sure there would be no comeback necessary taking control of the game from the opening whistle.
Both the Tigers and Jags withstood some nasty weather conditions that kept many spectators away even with free admission.
However, A.I. didn’t let the conditions get them down, taking the early lead thanks to a Haley McNulty goal just 2:40 into the game putting the Tigers ahead 1-0. Just over ten minutes later, McNulty would strike again with another assist from junior Catherine Medlock to give A.I. an early 2-0 advantage less than fifteen minutes into the first half.
The field remained tilted toward the A.I. side of the field for the remainder of the half and the Tigers’ held onto their 2-0 lead going into the break.
The Jaguars would not go down without a fight, however, responding well to open the half. Appo came into the second half with more fire than in the first playing tightly on defense while keeping control offensively during the opening minutes.
A.I. did their best to regain their momentum from the first half, keeping most of the Appo attack to the outside and blocking passing lanes not allowing for easy entry into the offensive zone. A.I. senior goalkeeper Anna Bradley turned away all five Appo shots staying sharp even though she was tested sparingly.
The Tigers would put the final touch on the game Wednesday when senior Claudia Marshall scored at 68:00 to seal the victory for A.I.
McNulty had a hand in every goal scored Wednesday for A.I., scoring the Tigers first two goals while assisting on Marshall’s tally. Medlock also had a strong game assisting on both McNulty goals in the victory.
The win for A.I. has gotten them off to a hot start out of the gate, something every team strives for at the start of the season. More importantly, it’s allowed them to establish themselves as a team right away.
“It definitely feels good to start off the season with back-to-back wins on the road, especially against a quality non-conference (team) in Smyrna and a conference foe in Appo,” said A.I. head coach Shannon Bradbury. “For us, it was very important to establish ourselves with some early wins.
In down-right miserable conditions, the Tigers out-shot Appo 8-5 and tripled them in corner kick opportunities 3-0.
The Tigers continued their dominance over Appo as they're now 3-0 over the past three years against the Jags outscoring them 13-1 while shutting them out for the second consecutive time.
“(Tonight) was a rather brutal cold with the wind serving as an entirely separate opponent at times,” said Bradbury. “Unfortunately, it was reminiscent of our game on Monday night down at Smyrna as well. Having gone through similar conditions mentally prepared us for the challenge and had the girls ready to come out to a quick start in order to get the early lead.”
A.I. duPont look to start out 3-0 when they return to action Saturday, March 29 at St. Mark’s at 1:00 p.m. against a Spartan team they’ve had some success against recently.
“Saturday will give us another test as we face a St. Mark’s program that has a storied tradition of winning and developing quality players,” said Bradbury. “It will be our first Saturday game so altering our routine, and ensuring that we are prepared mentally and physically will be the focus. In order to come out of the contest with another win, I think we will need to be organized defensively, communicate effectively, be efficient with our scoring opportunities, (and) maintain our composure in the final third.”