Padua defeated Caesar Rodney 3-1 Monday night to win the DIAA Division One state soccer title at Smyrna High School.
Padua Academy scored two goals in the first half on the way to a 3-1 victory over Caesar Rodney in the DIAA Division One girls’ state soccer championship. It is their third title in a row, and the first Division One crown under the state’s new playoff format. The title match was played Monday night at Smyrna High School.
Padua dominated the field in the first half. Padua coach Joe Brown said his team stayed aggressive all night. “We kept attacking, and we needed our back line to hold against CR’s talented attackers, and we did a pretty good job,” he said.
Regan Lehman tallied the Pandas’ first goal on a Penalty Kick by in the 12th minute. The goal was scored after teammate Arryana Daniels, who was fouled in close range.
Padua continued to pressure on both ends of the field, and eventually scored their second goal in the 28th minute to take a 2-0 lead through the first forty minutes of the game. This time, Daniels scored off a precise pass.
Caesar Rodney defenders had a tough time at first keeping up with the speedy Panda attackers, but Rider keeper Kristiana Stevens kept the contest close.
After some halftime adjustments, the Pandas had few scoring opportunities, but still kept the ball in the Lady Riders zone for much of the second half.
Caesar Rodney would finally get on the scoreboard. In the 53rd minute, Player of the Year Lexi Prillaman
broke up the middle in close range, but was knocked down in the penalty area. She promptly scored her Penalty Kick in the left upper corner to make the game 2-1, favor the Pandas. Defensively, Stevens continued to make several tough saves to keep it a one-goal game.
Padua would then score an insurance goal about four minutes later, however, on a clutch shot from freshman Emilia Ryjewski. “We knew we had to concentrate and stay focused. We worked hard for this and it was very exciting,” she said.