Rosero fights injury, leads SJB to soccer title
Junior Rosero thought his season was over. The St. John the Baptist junior midfielder suffered a left hip injury in practice Thursday and that's the first thought that raced through his mind.
Rosero spent the last few days going through rehab to get the hip better for the CHSAA boys soccer championship game Saturday night. When the game began, Rosero wasn't on the field.
Rosero asked to sit for the first 15 minutes before giving it a shot. St. John the Baptist is sure glad he did.
Rosero scored two goals in a span of 2:53 to give No. 3 St. John the Baptist the lead for good in a 3-1 win over top-seeded St. Anthony's in the CHSAA final at Adelphi. St. John the Baptist (11-3-3) won the championship outright for the first time since 2001. The Cougars were co-champions in 2002 with Chaminade and lost in penalty kicks. SJB will play in the state CHSAA semifinals Friday at St. John's University.
"I knew either way, I was going to play somehow," Rosero said. "I went through a lot of physical therapy the last few days. I got in and felt good."
Teammate Patrick Rowan knew Rosero would play.
"There was no way he was going to give up three months of hard work and not play at all," Rowan said. "He was hurting a lot. It took a lot of courage for him to come out. He knows when it's time to step up."
St. John the Baptist coach Nick Gallagher said: "As of two days ago, he really wasn't walking. He stepped up. He's been doing it all year. He's our most consistent offensive threat and leader. I think that was the best game he played all year. He shared the ball and the first goal was incredible. He became a true leader today."
Rosero sent a pass to Tyler Cisek, who crossed it back to Rosero and he scored with 26:12 left to tie the score at 1. Less than three minutes later, Kevin Ferreira headed the ball into the box and Rosero got to it and scored to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
Rowan added an insurance goal with 20:38 remaining, giving the Cougars three goals in a 5:36 span.
On that third goal, Corey Till kicked a long ball out of his zone and St. Anthony's goalkeeper Anthony Lopatowski raced out of the goal to get it.
"I saw the ball and didn't want to stop running," said Rowan, who was playing in just his second game after missing six weeks with a broken nose. "I saw I might be able to get around him and flicked it over the goalie and put it in the net."
Francis McIntyre scored on a header off a free kick from Troy Hornberger with 26:32 left in the first half for St. Anthony's (14-7-1).
"They responded in the second half," said Gallagher, who is in his first year at the helm. "We opened it up and the goals came. For the first year, you can't ask for more. Actually, I want two more."
Said SJB goalkeeper Michael Gaffary: "This is the biggest win in 10 years. I have never beaten St. Anthony's. We're champions!"