Four-goal 2nd half lifts DMA past Indian River 4-0 in Division II semifinals

DOVER — The third time’s the charm.

After making its third consecutive Division II semifinals appearance, the Delaware Military Academy girls’ soccer squad finally broke free and earned a trip to the state title game with Wednesday night’s 4-0 shutout win over Indian River.

It marks the first girls’ soccer state title game appearance in school history.

“This is our third time in the state semifinals and now our first time going to the championship,” said DMA coach Wayne Cox. “We just played our style. We’ve got really talented midfielders and we put a lot of pressure on teams with our forwards. So, we can possess the ball and did a really good job with that.”

The semifinal win avenges the team’s final four loss to the same Indian River squad two years prior — a 2-1 PK win set the No. 1 seeded Indians up with a Division II finals matchup against Caravel.

Indian River’s back line and senior goalkeeper Fabrea McCray held its ground in the first half Wednesday night, shutting the DMA offense out in the first 40 minutes of play.

“We trained specifically on making sure we didn’t allow them to run free and we did a really good job with that,” IR coach Steve Kilby said of his team’s first-half performance.

With a 0-0 deadlock at the halftime break, it was senior Elise Buonopane who put the Lady Seahawks on the board with a goal in the 42nd minute.

Down 1-0, IR had a scoring opportunity and a chance to knot the game 1-1 but were unable to capitalize as DMA’s goalkeeper made a nice save in front of freshman forward Anastasia Diakos.

“That would’ve been huge to get it tied up. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen,” Kilby said of the missed opportunity.

Eight minutes later, Buonopane scored her second of two goals after bouncing a free kick off an Indian River defender and into the back of the net.

“For any team, getting one is a total motivator and it changes the pace of the game, so I was happy that happened for our team and that we were able to push through and get two more after that,” Buonopane said of her quick second half goals.

Buonopane’s scoring outburst sparked DMA’s offense, as they put two more balls in the back of the net. The game’s third goal was off the head of freshman forward Alyssa Ruggeri, who delivered a header on a corner kick from Buonopane in the 63rd minute.

Senior Melayna Immediato capped the scoring with DMA’s fourth and final goal in the 65th minute to put the game out of reach.

“Everything they scored was off set pieces,” Kilby said. “We gave up the first one, we countered — should’ve had a goal — they come right back with another set piece and it ends up being 2-0. Our lack of urgency on defending set pieces ended up being the difference.
From there, the game was kind of broke.

“The future’s bright, but right now it’s a little bit dark.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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