Caesar Rodney tops Indian River 4-3 on penalty kicks for Henlopen girls soccer crown

By Tim Mastro

FREDERICA — Before Thursday, every time one of Darrell Gravatt’s teams went to penalty kicks they lost.

One of Gravatt’s players, Megan Rigsby had never taken a penalty kick before Thursday.

Both of those things are no longer true.

The Caesar Rodney High girls’ soccer team defeated Indian River 4-3 on penalty kicks after the game was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation for the Henlopen Conference championship. Caesar Rodney, the Henlopen Conference Northern Division representative, improved to 13-1-1 on the season.

Gravatt entered the contest a combined 0-6 as a coach in penalty kicks between the Caesar Rodney boys and girls soccer teams.

“I was tired of losing them,” he said with a smile.

Both teams missed one penalty kick through the first four rounds of the shootout. Indian River hit its fifth attempt over the crossbar, setting up Rigsby for a potential game-winner.

Rigsby, a sophomore defender, blasted her effort high and to her left.

“She buried that thing,” Gravatt said. “Megan has a cannon on her foot. If she hits the frame, it’s going to be hard to stop and she hit a missile.”

“It was very nerve-wracking,” Rigsby said. “I just didn’t look at the goalie and looked for the corners.”

Megan Powers, Macy Ramsey and Kimberly Glasser also converted penalty kicks for the Riders.

Jessie Prillaman opened the scoring when she found a way behind the Indian River defense and rounded the goalie for a tap-in with 22 minutes to go. Indian River equalized with 2:19 remaining on a strike by Anastasia Diakos off a rebound.

Both teams had chances in the two extra time periods but goalies Morgan Desaulniers of Caesar Rodney and Fabrea’ McCray of Indian River came up with several clutch saves to send the game to penalty kicks.

“We all worked very hard for this win,” Rigsby said. “I’m glad we stayed strong throughout the whole game and everyone kept their heads up and stayed positive.”

Caesar Rodney defeated Indian River 3-0 in the regular season but this contest, played in a driving rainstorm at the DE Turf Complex, was much closer.

“It was tough conditions and Indian River is a quality team,” Gravatt said. “To try to beat them for the second time is real tough. They played well and it was a pretty even match. It was a good test for the upcoming state tournament.”

Both teams will now shift their attention to the upcoming state tournaments.

Caesar Rodney is the second seed in the eight-team Division I field. The Riders get their tournament underway with a 6 p.m. contest against seventh seed William Penn at Smyrna High.

Indian River is seeded sixth in the 12-team Division II tournament. Indian River plays No. 11 Mount Pleasant on Saturday at noon at DE Turf.

If the Indians win that game, they will face third-seeded Caravel who has a first round bye on either Wednesday or Thursday at a time and location to be determined.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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