Two of the Henlopen Conference's top soccer teams, Dover and Caesar Rodney clashed on Thursday night. With first place in the Henlopen North division on the line, the Riders streaked past the Senators 7-2.
After an up-and-down season last year for the Dover Senators' boys soccer team, they entered the 2013 campaign looking to get back in the hunt within the Henlopen Conference. So far this season, they have done that and then some, posting a 9-2-1 record heading into their senior night against rival Caesar Rodney last Thursday.
While the Dover program is certainly heading back in the right direction, they weren't quite ready to dethrone the Riders who have been the class of the conference for some time now.
CR's Chimaobi Ikwuagwu found the back of the net for the Riders a remarkable four times in their 7-2 win on Thursday night. Austin Haywood and Adrian Coverdale also tallied goals for the Riders in the victory.
The Riders claimed the game's first goal which deflected off a Dover player into their own net for an own goal to give CR a 1-0 at the 13th minute. Just under 12 minutes later, Ikwuagwu tallied hits first goal of the game to give the Riders and early 2-0 lead.
Dover would get on the board a minute later when junior midfielder Aniq Gill found the back of the net to pull the Senators to within a goal. The Riders would regain the momentum heading into the half off the foot of Haywood, giving CR a 3-1 lead at the break.
Christian Whitney-Smith found the back of the net to open the second half for Dover to once again cut the Caesar Rodney lead to one goal. However, the Riders offense would pull away in the half due to four second-half tallies, three by Ikwuagwu and one by Coverdale to preserve the win.
The Riders out-shot the Senators 18-5, while also leading in corner kick opportunities 6-2.
Both goalkeepers were sharp Thursday night, CR's Kevin Sheahan made three saves for the Riders, while Dover's Jonathan Carson made 10 saves to try and keep the Senators in the game.
"Our goal this season was to be very competitive and win our division and conference," said CR Head Coach Darrell Gravatt. "So far, we've played high quality soccer."
The Riders improve to 10-1 on the season, while the Senators fall to 9-3-1 on the year.
With just two games remaining in their season, the Senators return to the pitch on Thursday when they travel to take on a now healthy Polytech team fresh off a 1-0 victory over a tough Sussex Tech team. Dover will finish up their season as they prepare for the playoffs Saturday morning at Archmere Academy.
For the Riders, they've now won eight straight games since dropping their first contest of the season to Charter School of Wilmington back in late September. CR has four games remaining, including conference battles against Sussex Central and Indian River. The Riders are back in action on Tuesday taking on Middletown before hosting the Golden Knights on Thursday night.