While the season is still only a few weeks old, the Middletown girls’ soccer team has to be one of the surprises of the early season state-wide.
After missing the playoffs a year ago with a record hovering around .500, the Lady Cavaliers have already equaled last year’s win total of seven.
Right now, the Lady Cavs find themselves in exclusive company as one of only two remaining teams in the state who are still undefeated, joining defending Division I State Champion Padua Academy (8-0).
Middletown’s success has been due to a total team effort. On offense, the Lady Cavaliers have scored 34 total goals, which is third best among teams with winning records. Defensively, the Lady Cavs have been even more impressive, allowing just five goals against behind just Charter School of Wilmington (4), Caesar Rodney (3), and Padua (1) for tops in the state.
Also, the Lady Cavliers’ hot start has come against some tough competition as four of their six victories have come against teams with winning records, including Concord, Ursuline Academy, Delaware Military Academy, Delcastle and A.I. dupont.
Offensively, a trio of sophomores has led the way for Middletown. Sophomore Rachel Finelli leads the team in scoring with 13 goals, followed by fellow second-year players Alexandra Rodriguez and Leigh Willis who have combined for nine total goals this season.
Adding some scoring depth are reliable senior Meghan Jolliko (3) and junior Mary Warren (2).
Defensively, the Cavaliers have shutdown opposing teams with a smothering defense that’s average less than a goal a game. While a lot of the credit goes to the players at the back protecting the net, freshman goalkeeper Taylor Wolf has been outstanding for Middletown, allowing just five goals on the year while posting three clean sheets.
Searching for reasons behind such a dramatic turnaround from last year, Head Coach Brian Derrickson believes it’s a combination of things.
“The biggest difference in this team and last year’s is the attitudes the girls have brought to the field,” Derrickson said. “Also, we have four coaches who have shared duties with both varsity and JV which has allowed players to feel like they are part of the program, not just varsity and JV, and hear and train in various environments which is beneficial.”
“We also changed our schedule with a new cycle and added DMA and Delmar, two teams who were in the DII tournament last year to make the team more competitive. Finally, each year brings new personnel to the program and this year, we have added several players who have stepped in and made a tremendous impact both at varsity level and JV level.”
The Lady Cavs look to stay undefeated tonight at Cavalier Stadium when they host St. Georges Tech.