The Caesar Rodney girls' soccer team lost its semifinal game to Padua Academy and was eliminated from the state tournament.

    Despite possessing the ball for what seemed like the entire second half and generating a few quality scoring chances, the Caesar Rodney girls’ soccer team fell to Padua Academy 1-0 at Wesley College Wednesday, ending its state tournament run in the semifinals.

    It was a strange night for the Riders, as they seemed to dominate more and more as the night went on but could not manage to get the equalizer.

    “I don’t think it was a night for CR,” head coach Darrell Gravatt said after the game. “Everything just seemed to bounce the wrong way.”

    CR entered the tournament ranked No. 2 after posting a 16-0 record in the regular season, which included a 5-2 win over two-time defending state champion Padua.
    The better part of the first half was played in a scoreless tie due to two clutch saves by Rider goalie Holly Thompson.

    CR then was whistled down low on a questionable call that awarded the Pandas a penalty shot. Kortney Rhoades took the kick and scored, making it 1-0.

    “I thought we were slowly, in the first half, playing our way in, then they got the PK and I thought it took the wind out of our sails for the rest of the first half.”

    Entering the half down a goal, the Riders came back in the second stage aggressive and determined, controlling the play for the bulk of that time.

    Despite scoring opportunities from Jazmine Reeves, who had a header off a corner kick that was stopped by the Padua keeper, and Michelle Brown, who fired a shot just wide, the Riders could not find the back of the net.

    The rest of the time, the Panda defenders were smothering CR’s attack and disallowing any quality chances.

    “It was very frustrating,” Gravatt said. “They had a lot of numbers in the box, and the ball just pinged around a lot. It was a strange night for us. We had chances but we didn’t get on in.

    “Nothing seemed to go our way and everything seemed to go their way,” he added. “They’re a very good team.”

    Despite failing to reach the state finals for the second consecutive year, Gravatt said the season was a major success for his team, which only graduates four players and is poised to return to form next season.

    “We went to the final four and we were 18-1,” Gravatt said. “It’s hard to win every game but we almost did. I’m really pleased with the girls and really pleased with this team.

    “I think we’ll be a very strong team next year. I’ll hope for the best and think we’ll be in the hunt.”

    Padua moves on to their third straight state finals appearance where they will meet Catholic school rival St. Marks at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at Caravel Academy.