Riders blank Newark to reach girls’ soccer semifinals

DOVER — The Caesar Rodney High girls’ soccer team was aware what happened on Wednesday night, one day before its first-round game.

The Riders knew the third seed, Wilmington Charter, was upset by Appoquinimink.

So despite being the tournament’s second seed, the Riders weren’t treating their opening game as an easy win.

“It helped us realize that everyone in the tournament is here for a reason,” said junior forward Aleya Cummings. “We came out here as strong as possible.”

CR soccer coach Darrell Gravatt. (Delaware State News file photo),

CR soccer coach Darrell Gravatt. (Delaware State News file photo),

Caesar Rodney scored three times in the first five minutes on its way to a 4-0 victory over seventh-seeded Newark on Thursday night at Dover High in the first round of the DIAA Division I girls’ soccer state tournament.

Janiah Moore netted a pair of goals for CR while Cummings and Lynsy Gruwell each had one. Moore recorded an assist and Rebekah Bernat also assisted on a goal.

The Riders (15-1-1) will now meet that Appoquinimink team, the sixth seed which knocked off Charter, 1-0. That semifinal contest will be played on either Tuesday or Wednesday at a time and location to be determined.

It took less than two minutes for the Riders to get on the board Thursday. Gruwell finished off a pass from Moore just 1:58 into the match.

Gruwell, a sophomore, missed the first 12 games of the season with a foot injury. She’s normally a midfielder but is playing striker after senior Alexa Faulmino, an All-State player who is committed to the University of Delaware, suffered a season-ending knee injury in April.

“At first we weren’t really sure what we were going to do because she is the best player in the state,” Gruwell said. “When I came back we put me up top and it just kind of clicked. We seem to work well together as the top three.”

“It was nice to get her back,” said CR coach Darrell Gravatt. “Playing a lot of the season without her and Alexa was tough. She’s looking very dangerous now and she’s only a sophomore so I’m looking forward to her having two complete seasons. She’s going to be hard to contain.”

Moore and Cummings, Gruwell’s two partners in attack, then scored 36 seconds apart.

With the game being played in steady rain, the Riders were thankful to get off to such a quick start. CR out-shot Newark 24-2.

“We can play rain, snow or shine,” Moore said. “The ball skipped really fast but we had to get used to it. It was good to come out with some fire.”

Moore added her second goal of the game in the 66th minute.

The Riders could have had several more goals but were kept away by some diving stops by Newark goalie Emma Meizell. She finished with 10 saves.

CR and Appoquinimink did not meet during the season but do have plenty of common opponents. One of those is Newark, which beat the Jaguars 1-0 during the regular season.

Another is Charter, which the Riders tied 1-1 on April 27. Charter beat Appoquinimink 2-0 during the regular season, but the Jaguars got revenge on Wednesday, something that Gravatt was sure to stress to his team.

“We always take it one game at a time but that reinforced why we do that,” Gravatt said. “You never know in high school sports who is going to come out on top, especially in low-scoring sports like soccer. We were ready.”

Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at tmastro@newszap.com or 741-8224.

Follow @TimMastroDSN on Twitter.

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