Riders blank Cape 3-0 in soccer showdown

Cape’s Luke Mulcahy, left, chases the ball as CR’s David Haynes pursues at Cape on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

LEWES — In a must-win game, the Caesar Rodney High boys’ soccer team delivered what it called its most complete performance of the season.

Monroe Hite and David Haynes each scored off corner kicks while Tommy McPoyle added a late insurance goal as the Riders downed Cape Henlopen High 3-0 in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division matchup Tuesday night.

The Vikings were previously unbeaten in Henlopen North play. The Riders likely control their own destiny in the divisional race and if they can beat Dover next Tuesday they could clinch the North title.

CR’s Chikezie Ikwuagwu battles for the ball against Cape’s Dane Palmer at Cape on Tuesday.

“It was a solid effort from all our players,” Haynes said. “The guys who came off the bench were just as good as the starters. We really showed up for this big game. We just came at them and just pulled through. We knew if we wanted to win this conference we had to win this game, we couldn’t lose, we couldn’t tie. We had to win.”

Hite gave the Riders a 1-0 lead before halftime. Tommy Pomatto swung a corner kick in from the right side and Hite got himself open to head the ball down and into the net.

The scene repeated itself at the other end in the second half but with different players. This time Haynes got onto the end of a corner kick by Steve Ferrandino to double the advantage.

“We’re not the biggest team out there,” Haynes said of CR’s performance on set pieces. “We’ve played a lot of teams that are bigger than us but I think we just want it more. We see the ball in the air and we want that ball and we want that goal.”

McPyole sealed it with a strike from near the top of the 18-yard box off an assist by Chikezie Ikwuagwu.

“This is big time for us,” McPoyle said. “The conference championship would mean a lot to us. I’m really proud of the guys.”

Cape’s Ulysis Slagle, right, battles CR’s Kyle Wentling during soccer at Cape on Tuesday.

“I think it’s all the work our coaches have made us go through,” McPoyle said. “We worked hard this week and the final pieces came together. We got the job done against a big team like this and it couldn’t have been a more important game than this.”

And it wasn’t just the offense who had a standout game for the Riders.

Goalie Nathan Reid made nine saves to record the shutout. The CR backline led by Spencer Ott cut out attack after attack which helped the Riders out-shoot Cape Henlopen 16-9

“This game is huge for us,” Ott said. “We’re ecstatic about this, it’s huge. I felt like we had an all-around great game tonight. We all definitely balled out tonight and we’re super excited about the outcome.”

Reid made a key save in stoppage time in the first half to keep the score 1-0. His best save in the second half came with the score 2-0 when he hit the ground to hold onto a header which seemed destined for the back of the net.

“I thought we played a complete game in all areas,” said CR coach Darrell Gravatt. “Our keeper was fantastic, backline was rock solid, our midfield transitioned well and our forward-line was strong in the air and good on set pieces. We all defended as a team too.”

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