Ravens, Vikings fall in Div. I girls’ soccer quarterfinals

Valencia Whealton recorded 16 saves for Sussex Tech.

CAMDEN – With its top scorer sidelined due to injury, the Sussex Tech High girls’ soccer team knew it’d need a strong defensive effort.

Senior goalkeeper Valencia Whealton more than met that challenge, making 16 saves for the fifth-seeded Ravens before fourth-seeded Middletown High finally netted a game-winner in double overtime for a 1-0 win in Wednesday night’s Div. I quarterfinals at Caesar Rodney High.

Freshman Katelyn Li netted the golden goal, with an assist from junior Cecily DiVirgilio, in the 92nd minute to win the game for the Cavaliers (13-3).

“We were there, we wanted to win,” Whealton said. “It could have gone either way, I really believe that. Last time we played against them we weren’t really there determination-wise, mentality-wise, but going into this game you could tell there was a difference.”

The Cavaliers will face Charter School of Wilmington in next Wednesday’s semifinals at a location yet to be determined.

Charter defeated eighth-seeded Cape Henlopen High, 2-0, in the second game of the doubleheader at Rider Stadium to earn its spot in the semis.

Cape kept the top-seeded Force off the board in the first half, but Charter freshman Gabi Boffa netted an unassisted goal in the 47th minute to break the scoreless tie.

Senior forward Sheyenne Allen extended the lead with a goal in the 77th minute to cap Charter’s scoring.

“We came into the game wanting to shut down Sheyenne,” said Cape coach Patrick Kilby. “We fronted her and backed her with Lindsey Reynolds and Claire Rasin, and I think they did a very good job.

“One of our concerns was double-teaming her on restarts and we didn’t do that on their second goal. We played hard, we played tough, and in the end they were the better team. I’m happy with our effort.”

The Force (15-0-1) outshot Cape, 21-2, and edged them in corner kick attempts, 8-1.

Junior goalkeeper Lucy Siranides finished with eight saves and kept the Force off the board for the first 46 minutes.

“Lucy made three or four good saves in the first 15 minutes of the match,” Kilby said. “The entire game we had a good defensive effort, I think.”

Middletown outshot the Ravens, 28-8, while Tech attempted four corner kicks to Middletown’s two.

“We had some chances,” said Tech coach Carlos Villa. “Obviously, losing somebody (Lily Short) who scores 27 goals is going to be a huge blow, but our kids showed up today. I’m proud of their effort and their attitude, they never gave up and made it a game.

“They beat us 2-0 last time and this time they had to take it to overtime, so the effort was there. Great group of kids, it was a very successful season.”

For the first 30 minutes, Tech played heavily on its defensive side of the field before putting up a few scoring chances late in the half.

“We went with more of a defensive scheme,” said Villa. “Val was tough in the goal coming out and doing everything she possibly could. She had a very great game.”

Both teams were kept off the scoreboard for the next 56 minutes before Li’s game-winner at the 8:25 mark of the second 10-minute overtime period put an end to things.

“They’re a tough team, I think it could have gone either way, though,” said Villa. “It was just one of those games that could’ve gone either way.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com.

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