What wasn’t surprising coming out of Wednesday night’s first round clash between No. 1 Padua Academy and No. 16 St. Georges Technical High School was that Padua left the stadium at Appoquinimink High School ready for round two, while St. Georges left to start its offseason.
What was surprising, however, was that for the majority of the first half, the Hawks kept the game in check with a stingy defense that saw the Pandas score only one goal in the first 25 minutes and change of play.
St. Georges dropped 11 players back, sacrificing offensive chances to sure up the defense against a strong Padua attack. It’s something Padua Head Coach Joe Brown said his team has said all year and one it’s used to working around.
“We knew we just needed to get one,” Brown said. “You get one and they have to come out. And then sooner or later number two will come. You just take them one goal at a time and hopefully things will work out for us.”
Well, the Pandas got their one in the 16th minute from junior Taylor Schoenbeck, and tacked on two more before the half ended by creating goals off corners from senior Garcelle Alequine. One found the back of the cage off a header by freshman Karlina Panella, and the other on a loose rebound shoved home by senior Casey Horney.
Padua didn’t look back from there, tacking on three second-half goals en route to a 6-0 victory, earning a trip to the second round where they’ll face No. 9 Sussex Technical High School on Saturday, May 26.
Bonnie Mills, head coach for St. Georges, said despite the almost perfect execution of the stingy defensive system she had her team prepared to play, the relentless Padua attack eventually just wore her girls down.
“A couple of balls out of the air we just struggled on, and that’s what allowed them to have scoring opportunities,” she said. “But the effort, I can’t fault my girls on the effort they had.”
Before heading into Saturday’s game, Brown made it clear that he and his girls are happy with the win, but know they’re not close to the level where they’ll need to be yet to win the entire tournament, something they’ll work on over the next few days.
I think, overall, we’re the type of team that we can get games put away in the first half,” he said. “We just have to pick up the intensity and the mentality going into the next round, because with each game the stress is only going to increase.”
As for Mills’ squad, she acknowledged that it was a longshot for her team to come out of the night’s game, but added that the experience gained from playing a team as good as Padua could contribute to wins in the future.
“These girls can take that with them next year,” she said. “Sometimes getting beat 6-0 can be more valuable than blowing a team out 8-0.