Caesar Rodney, Indian River fall in soccer semifinals

CR’s Braden Phillips celebrates after he scored a goal midway through the first half to tie the score 1-1 with Appoquinimink. (Special to the Delaware State News?Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Caesar Rodney High played down a man for nearly 60 minutes and was three minutes away from penalty kicks in the DIAA boys soccer Division I state tournament semifinals.

But a stunning strike sent Appoquinimink to the finals.

Dylan Cooper blasted an effort from more than 20 yards out into the top corner for a 4-3 Appoquinimink victory at Dover High.

The second-seeded Jaguars advanced to play top seed Salesianum in the championship. The game will be held Saturday at Smyrna High at time to be determined.

The Riders got a red card trailing 2-1 late in the first half. They battled back to tie 2-2 before halftime and even went ahead 3-2 on a 30-yard free kick goal from Monroe Hite in the second half.

But the Jaguars forced extra time on a penalty kick by Matt Meadows. CR goalie Zander Omans, making his debut for the Riders, made numerous clutch saves to keep the game tied into two overtime periods.

Monroe Hite of Caesar Rodney boots the ball upfield ahead of Appoquinimink’s Colby Niggebrugge. (Special to the Delaware State News?Gary Emeigh)

Cooper’s game-winner ripped through the net at the top corner, sending the ball bouncing off the rear fence and made some think his shot actually went wide. But the referees awarded the goal.

“I’m real proud of all the guys,” said CR coach Darrell Gravatt. “I thought we did a great job. Our keeper in his first varsity start did and outstanding job. Zander was outstanding, no question about it.”

Indian River fell to top-seeded Caravel Academy 6-3 in the Division II semifinals in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

Caravel’s jacob Rubini goes horizontal to head ball away from Jared Cordoba of Indian River. Austyn Hamilton of the Buccaneers is at right. (Special to the Delaware State News?Gary Emeigh)

Caravel will play Wilmington Friends in the Division II title game on Saturday at Smyrna.

Indian River, the tournament’s fourth seed, ended its season at 15-4 overall.

The Division I game was the first time Caesar Rodney played a man down all season.

Lyod Coutilien tied the game at two for the Riders with a goal two minutes before halftime. Braden Phillips also scored for CR in the first half when the game was still 11 vs. 11.

Hite gave the Riders their first lead of the game on his free kick with 23 minutes to go.

But the Jaguars were awarded a penalty with nine minutes remaining and Meadows slotted his effort in the bottom corner.

Indian River sophomore Erick Aguilera Baruch trying to block a pass by Ben Schwartz of Caravel Academy. (Special to the Delaware State News?Gary Emeigh)

“It’s tough playing a man down,” Gravatt said. “This was the first time we did the whole year and I thought the guys handled it well. Our play didn’t drop even though we were a man down. We kept digging deep and were two minutes away from penalties. I think the guys played as good as they could have.”

Caravel scored the first five goals for a 5-0 lead in the first game.

Indian River was led by a pair of goals in the second half by Yves Graf. Alexander DiLuzio also added a goal.

Jacob Rubini paced Caravel with three goals and two assists.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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