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Cape soccer survives ugly 3-2 win over Saint Mark's

Cape reaches semifinal round for first time in school history
November 12, 2013
Cape goalie Griffin Kammerer slides to stop a Saint Mark's goal attempt by Jeffrey Richards. The Spartans were awarded a penalty kick on the play. BY DAN COOK

Swontek was out and Swarbrick was in for the Cape first-round state tournament game at Dover versus Saint Mark’s.

Billy Swontek by cumulative yellow card rule had to sit out a game. Zach Swarbrick has come in early off the bench for Miguel Merino-Sanchez several times this season.

Two minutes into the game, Josh Lesher sent a ball through to Swarbrick, who pushed ahead to go one-on-one with the goalie.

“Zach kept control and was calm, waited for the goalie to commit and went behind him. It was an absolutely beautiful goal," said Cape coach Gary Montalto. “We needed someone to pick up the scoring slack for Billy.”

Cape led 1-0 and never trailed in the fast and physical game. A Miguel Merino-Sanchez header on an assist from Drew Mulcahy early in the second half made the score a more comfortable 2-0. Merino-Sanchez was six for six the night before as the extra point man for the Cape football team. He is an energizing personality and the consummate team player.

"I felt like the game finally came to me, but I have to keep working hard," Merino-Sanchez said.

Saint Mark’s came down on attack with extroverted striker Jeff Richards one-on-one with goalie Kammerer, who slid to the ball and was called for tripping with both arms extended.

The penalty was good but ran to Kammerer, and Richards wanted that ball. He attempted to wrestle it away from Kammerer and was given a yellow card for his behavior, but nonetheless the score tightened to 2-1. Richards would later be red card ejected for excessive lamenting.

Merino-Sanchez on a direct-kick restart went over the wall on a bender to the near post, making the score 3-1. The Spartans quickly answered, scoring on an unsettled defensive discombobulated Cape team to cut the final deficit to 3-2.

The game was the first 15-win season for Cape since 1996 and the first state tournament win ever over a team not from the Henlopen Conference.

Cape will make its first trip to the semifinals and will play Appoquinimink at Smyrna at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Coach Montalto told his team after the game, “You had to play ugly; this was a very ugly match. I was very proud with the way you survived it. It was one of the matches of our 16 where I didn’t see us find people's feet enough; we just could not get ourselves settled in a nice and calm, flowing atmosphere, but you weathered the storm.”