Cummings sets state record of 51 goals as CR blanks Dover in tourney

BEAR — The ultimate goal for senior Aleya Cummings and her Caesar Rodney High soccer teammates is to capture this year’s Division I girls soccer state championship.

But if Cummings can make a little individual history along the way, that’s OK, too.

Cummings did just that on Thursday night as she scored a hat trick – with her third goal giving her a state record with 51 goals scored in a season – to help propel second-seeded CR to an 8-0 triumph over No. 7-seed Dover in the first round of the state tournament at Caravel’s Bob Peoples Stadium.

Cummings scored her third goal in the 27th minute to give the Riders a quick commanding 5-0 lead. It was her third straight goal over the span of 20 minutes and helped her surpass Jazmine Reeves, a former CR player, for the record.

“It’s my last state tournament and I want to go out with a bang,” Cummings said. “I got my 51st goal so I was able to break the state record.

“It’s a big deal since it’s my last season and it’s neat that I was able to break Jasmine Reeves record, especially since she’s from Caesar Rodney.”

Caesar Rodney (15-1 overall), which won its 14th consecutive game, advances to next Wednesday’s semifinal round where it will play the winner of Thursday’s Middletown-Smyrna game at a site and time to be determined.

Dover, which finished its season 9-7, was just overmatched on the hot, steamy night on Caravel’s artificial turf.

“They got us early and they were just better than we were,” Dover coach Paul Booton said. “I’m proud of [my team]. They got nine wins and the program is going in the right direction, so we’ll be OK.”

While the Riders got a chance to highlight their present, they also got a chance to showcase their future as freshman Jessie Prillaman also finished with a hat trick.

“Aleya Cummings, there’s nobody better as far as I’m concerned,” Riders coach Darrell Gravatt said, “and Jessie is a freshman and she plays like a senior. She’s very dangerous.”

Prillaman gave CR a 2-0 lead in the seventh minute when she scored after cutting between a pair of Senator defenders just 20 seconds after Lynsy Gruwell put the Riders on the scoreboard first.

Prillaman added two more goals in the 28th and 34th minutes to give CR a commanding 7-0 lead at the half.

“It feels good,” Prillaman said. “It wouldn’t have happened without my teammates, though. They played so well. They just help me a lot. I was calm [Thursday] and usually I’m really nervous, so I guess being calmed down helped me.”

Sophomore Amelia Robinson finished the CR onslaught with a goal in the 69th minute.

Dover, which fell to the Riders 4-0 on April 28, became the latest victim to the Riders’ powerful machine.

CR has now scored 104 goals and allowed only eight this season, which was second best behind Padua heading into the state tournament.

Riders coach Darrell Gravatt was more than pleased with his team’s effort, especially considering the game was delayed for a half hour due to a fatal accident in north Dover, it was sweltering hot and his team was playing its rivals.

“We kept our focus,” Gravatt said. “We played Dover in the season and we were not pleased with our own performance, so we were looking forward to this opportunity to play them again.

“We wanted to have a very strong output from the whole team, everyone from back to front, and we did that.”

And now the Riders are just two steps away from that ultimate prize – a state championship trophy.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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