The Appoquinimink Jaguars fell just short of a state title Saturday night, falling to No. 1 Salesianum, 2-1 in the Division I DIAA Boys Soccer State Championship at Smyrna High.
While the Jags fell just short of taking home the Division I crown, they gave the juggernaut that is Sallies everything they could handle last Saturday night.
After a scoreless first half, Salesianum took the first lead of the game when Bryce Wallace headed in a goal to give Sallies a 1-0 lead in the 54th minute.
Having played Salesianum tightly the entire matchup, Appo responded to Sallies’ goal quickly. An Anthony Dina free kick deflected into the goal in the 55th minute, less than a minute after Salesianum’s go-ahead goal to knot things up at 1-1.
Feeling the pressure, Salesianum’s offense rallied right back breaking into Appo territory on a 2-on-1 where Wallace capitalized with his second goal of the contest to put Salesianum up 2-1 in the 60th minute.
With time running out, the Jags pressed Salesianum trying to back them into their own zone but they were turned away each time by Sallies’ defense and strong goalkeeping from Emmett McCloskey.
While it’s a disappointing end to Appo’s season, they accomplished plenty during their 2017 campaign.
The Jaguars finished the regular season 11-2-2 overall, posting a 7-0-1 mark against the Blue Hen Conference.
Appo opened the year winning three of their first five games with their only blemishes coming in a 2-1 loss to Pennsylvania’s Malvern and a 2-2 tie against St. Albans School from Washington D.C.
After the 2-1 loss to Malvern Prep, Appo won eight of their remaining 10 games including victories over Hodgson, William Penn, Caesar Rodney, Newark, Concord, Caravel Academy, St. Andrew’s and St. Georges Tech by a combined score of 35-5.
During that streak, they fell to Salesianum in a close 2-0 contest and tied Charter School of Wilmington in a goalless affair.
Earning the No. 2 overall seed in the state tournament, Appo opened the playoffs with a 4-0 win over Sussex Central.
In the semifinals, the Jags matched up against a familiar and tough opponent, Caesar Rodney, defeating the Riders for the second time this season, 5-2, to advance to the state title game.