Riders blank Middletown 4-0 in D-I soccer quarterfinals

CR’s Monroe Hite (17) heads the ball past Middletown goalie Coleson Stewart to assist Spencer Ott’s scoring boot for the Riders in the first half. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

MILFORD — Monroe Hite headed the ball down across the face of the goal and there was Spencer Ott rushing to meet it.

Ott made no mistake, banging it into the back of the net with his head.

“We’ve worked on that a million times,” Ott said. “Monroe delivered right to where I was. Right place, right time, you shouldn’t miss from there.”

After Ott’s first half goal, the Riders were off and running.

Ott netted a pair of goals to lift Caesar Rodney to a 4-0 victory over Middletown High in the quarterfinals of the DIAA Division I boys’ soccer tournament hosted by Milford High on Saturday night.

CR’s Monroe Hite (facing camera) celebrates with teammate Spencer Ott after he scored in the first half to put the Riders up 1-0.

The Riders, seeded third, advanced to play No. 2 seed Appoquinimink on Wednesday night at Dover High (8 p.m.). The same two teams met in the semifinals a year ago with Appoquinimink winning in overtime 4-3.

Saturday’s shutout by junior Zander Omans was the eighth of the season for Caesar Rodney (15-2).

“Our centerbacks Ayden Brown and Tyler Morris just played outstanding all game,” said CR coach Darrell Gravatt. “There’s a lot right happening in the back for us and Zander Omans is just a fantastic keeper.”

Hite added a goal of his own to go with his assists. Lyod Coutilien added a late goal to round out the scoring.

All the goals were scored by seniors.

Lyod Coutilien of Caesar Rodney and Middletown’s Cameron Emmett battle for possession in the first half.

“We rely on our seniors and they know that,” Gravatt said. “Spencer, Tyler and Money (Hite) are our captains. I tell them, ‘If not you, who?’ They went out and did it.”

Middletown did not have many opportunities, but when the Cavaliers did, Omans was up to the task.

He recorded a point-blank save shortly after Ott’s first half goal to keep the game at 1-0. Omans made a reactionary move to knock the ball over his net and out for a corner kick on a shot taken right in front of him.

“That inflated us more and deflated them a little bit,” Gravatt said. “That goal scores on almost everyone but not on Zander.”

Joseph McGoin of CR slipped and fell to the ground trying to stop Middletown’s Micah Katzman-McGhee’s progress.

Ott started the scoring with 23:10 remaining in the first half with his header from Hite’s assist.

He doubled the lead with a blast of a free kick from just outside the box early in the second half. Hite one-upped Ott with a long-range strike of his own, rocketing a low effort from 26 yards away from goal into the bottom corner.

“That’s why he’s called Money right there,” Gravatt said.

Coutilien capped the three-goal second half by finishing off a breakaway with 7:47 left in the contest.

“We felt we were a little stagnate in the first half but we were able to pick it up in the second half and come out a lot stronger,” Ott said. “We were able to play together up top more and build out of the back.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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