CR girls grab 5th straight Henlopen soccer title

GEORGETOWN — Just 26 seconds into the second half, Caesar Rodney High put up a shot on goal.

Gabrielle Davis (5) runs up to hug teammate Jessie Prillaman after Prillaman scores her second goal of the game. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

While the shot didn’t hit the back of the net, it was the energy and momentum the Riders needed to propel to a 3-1 comeback victory over Indian River High in Thursday night’s Henlopen Conference girls’ soccer title game at Sussex Academy.

“We just came out with a lot more energy in the second half, I think that was the big factor. That really helped,” said senior Jessie Prillaman. “

The title win marks CR’s fifth consecutive conference crown. All five conference championship wins came against Indian River, with last year’s showdown coming down to penalty kicks.

“It’s nice. Our girls played great, especially in the second half,” said CR coach Darrell Gravatt. “We took it up a notch, or two, because we have a nice tradition and these girls did not want to lose tonight at all.”

Darrell Gravatt

The second-seeded Riders (13-3) will face Appoquinimink High in the quarterfinal round of the DIAA Division I state tournament next Thursday night at Smyrna High School.

Jessie Prillaman holds up the Henlopen Conference championship trophy for her CR teammates following Thursday’s 3-1 win.

The fourth-seeded Indians (11-5) finish as the Henlopen Southern Division champs and have a first-round bye in the Division II state tournament. They will face the winner of fifth-seeded Sanford High and 12th-seeded Mount Pleasant High in next Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Prillaman was involved in all three goals, scoring a pair and assisting freshman forward Gabrielle Davis.

The Riders outshot the Indians 20-16, with each team attempting five corner kicks.

Junior goalkeeper Morgan Desaulniers made seven saves for the Riders, while IR freshman Hanna Bird and sophomore Lauren Meehan combined for 13 saves.

Sophomore Isabella Binko put the Indians ahead first with a goal in the 24th minute.

Indian River’s Anastasia Diakos and CR’s Gabrielle Davis battle for control of the ball during Thursday’s conference title game.

“I think we got a little bit down after that first goal, but we had a nice talk at halftime, we got our energy back up and we put it behind us,” said Desaulniers.

Prillaman knotted the game on a penalty kick six minutes after the unsuccessful shot on goal to open the second half.

The PK opened a scoring barrage as the Riders put three unanswered goals in the back of the net over a three-minute span to take the 3-1 lead.

Davis scored on a long pass from Prillaman in the 48th minute to give CR its first lead of the game, 2-1.

Prillaman’s second goal in the 50th minute capped the scoring.

“I just got up there and took my first touch in,” Davis said of her goal. “Of course, after I scored the goal, I looked at Jessie. She gets all the credit.

“It felt really good to go up, and then once we got that next goal it felt even better to go up by two and have the ball for the rest of the game.”

Gravatt and the CR girls have made an appearance in the Division I title game four out of the last five years and would like to make it back again this season when tourney play kicks off.

“I have a lot of confidence in my team heading into the first round, and I definitely think we can go far,” Prillaman said. “We just have to keep our effort up and go hard throughout the rest of the season.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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