With four minutes to go, the Salesianum soccer team had a comfortable lead against Charter of Wilmington on Thursday.
But the Sals weren’t comfortable. The Force set up for a free kick from 20 yards out on the right side. Sallies hadn’t allowed a goal all season, and the scoreless streak was in jeopardy.
The Sals cleared the ball without a shot and completed a 5-0 road victory that reinforced their dominance. Sallies has won nine of the last 11 state championships, including the last three, and has won 30 straight games against Delaware opponents since a 0-0 tie with Tatnall on Sept. 22, 2011. The last in-state team to top Salesianum was Charter on Oct. 28, 2010.
The Force (5-2) came into Thursday’s game ranked third in Division I but were no match for the top-ranked Sals. Including four straight blankings in last year’s state tournament, Sallies (6-0) has posted 10 straight shutouts.
“Our heart and soul is really not getting scored on,” Sals coach Scott Mosier said. “We have a hard-working, defensive-minded, tough team. We’ve had shutouts all season. That kind of comes naturally to them.”
But offense hasn’t come naturally this season, as Sallies had won four of its first five games by 1-0 scores. That changed Thursday.
“We’ve been trying to be a little more patient, making one extra pass, one extra touch and not shooting wild shots,” Mosier said. “I thought today, we took some extra touches and some extra passes. Even when we weren’t scoring, we were getting some quality chances.”
The Sals did plenty of scoring. Mike DiSabatino got it started in the 21st minute, settling a long throw-in by Joe Cain and blasting a left-footed shot into the net from 12 yards out.
“It can be the difference in winning and losing if you don’t put that first goal in,” DiSabatino said. “If you don’t put it in right away, the other team can get momentum and it changes the way you have to play.”
Charter goalkeeper Edwin Lopez frustrated the Sals with three nice saves, but Dylan Huber got one past him from point-blank range in the final minute of the first half to make it 2-0.
Two minutes into the second half, Sallies’ Remington Christman converted a high ball into the middle for a 3-0 lead. Ten minutes later, DiSabatino launched a beautiful run and bumped a perfect ball to Matt Paranczak for another score.
“It was really just a classy goal,” Paranczak said. “Mike did his job, beat his defender out wide and found me. I made sure I finished that one, because I missed a couple earlier in the game.”
Andrew Witherell scored the final goal off a rebound in the 61st minute. Then the Sallies defense clamped down and kept its shutout streak alive.