CR girls’ soccer team falls again to mighty Padua 2-0

HOCKESSIN — The Caesar Rodney High defense held out for 51 minutes.

But Padua Academy kept the pressure on and eventually found a way past the Riders two times.

The Pandas netted a pair of second half goals and shut out Caesar Rodney 2-0 in an early season nonconference girls’ soccer showdown on Tuesday afternoon at the Hockessin Soccer complex.

Padua (5-0), the four-time defending state champion, has beaten the Riders six times in a row. Caesar Rodney (2-1), which has lost in the state finals to Padua each of the past two seasons, had a lot of newcomers in the starting lineup Tuesday, needing to replace seven seniors from last season’s team.

The Pandas have ended the Riders’ season each of the last four years.

“It would have been nice if we would have won, but Padua is a very good team and the defending state champs,” said CR coach Darrell Gravatt.

“They’re a very, very tough team. We have a lot of new faces in the lineup, we lost seven really good seniors from last year, so given all that, and the fact we had to travel an hour, it could have been worse, I guess.”

Padua had a majority of the possession and finished with 19 shots compared to four by the Riders.

Despite the having the advantage in shots, the Pandas couldn’t get on the board in the first half, thanks to the play of CR junior goalie Marianna Nuzzo.

Nuzzo made a big save right before halftime when a Padua shot deflected off the crossbar but she was able to pounce on it before it rolled into the net.

Nuzzo made one save early in the second half and Padua also skied two golden opportunities over the crossbar before finally earning the game’s opening goal.

A low cross was sent into the box and skipped off a CR defender for an own goal. The Pandas added another in the 75th Emilia Ryjewski banged a point-blank shot into Nuzzo who was able to make the original save before Ryjewski capitalized on the rebound.

Nuzzo finished the game with 10 saves.

“She played a great game and Haley Prillaman did an outstanding job as the leader of the back four,” Gravatt said. “I thought all of the back four player very well but Padua is relentless on their pressure. We held them off for a while and tried to make it a difficult game for them, they’re just very good.”

Caesar Rodney did have several chances to score in the contest.

Freshman Jessie Prillaman fired a low shot early in the second half that Padua goalie Abigail Boudart was able to get down and smother.

Another good chance for CR came in the second half when Aleya Cummings drew a foul on the edge of the penalty area. Jameah Nixon lined up the resulting free kick for the Riders but her effort just skimmed over the crossbar.

Caesar Rodney had outscored its opponents 18-0 entering the game while Padua still hasn’t conceded a goal all season.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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