Chaminade bests St. Anthony's for NSCHSAA title
Chaminade won the NSCHSAA boys soccer championship Wednesday night, beating No. 1 St. Anthony's 4-2 on penalty kicks at Mitchel Field.
The big question was would any one score a goal? Top-seeded St. Anthony's and Chaminade played 180 minutes of soccer in the regular season and neither team found the back of the net.
The drought continued Wednesday night. A Chaminade penalty kick hit the woodwork. A shot by St. Anthony's did as well.
St. Anthony's finally ended the drought as a shot by Brendan Reardon from about 20 yards found the right corner of the net with 5:52 left in regulation. Game over, right?
Not quite. Second-seeded Chaminade tied it with a goal by Kyle Walsh with 54 seconds left in regulation, sending the game to overtime. Chaminade had a great chance with 5:44 left in the first overtime and Conor McElhinney made the save.
In regulation, Chaminade had a chance to take a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick in the 55th minute and hit the crossbar. St. Anthony's had a great chance five minutes later and hit the post.
The Friars had a point-blank look at the net with 23:01 left in regulation and Brian Westerman made the save for Chaminade. Chaminade had a clean look at net from 10 yards away and the shot went over the bar with 7:35 left in regulation.
Trying to get good looks at the goal has been extremely difficult for both of these two teams. That was evident in the 18th minute. St. Anthony's was moving the ball near the Chaminade goal and took three shots. All three shots were blocked by Chaminade defenders.
It's no surprise these teams made the final. They have won nine of the last 10 NSCHSAA championships. Both teams did have questions marks entering the season. St. Anthony's lost four players to the U.S. Soccer Academy and had very little experience.
It didn't take long to see that Friars had players ready to step up. The Friars opened the season with 2-0 win over defending champion St. John the Baptist. A 2-0 win over Martin Luther King, ranked No. 2 in the country by the NSCAA at the time, showed the Friars were still a powerhouse.
"We had some question marks at the beginning of the year," St. Anthony's co-head coach Don Corrao said. "Other guys got opportunities and obviously they made the most of it. The juniors are playing like seniors and we are deeper than we thought we were. We probably play the most up-tempo game in the league and the ability to go to the bench helps us."
Chaminade also had some question marks going into the season, but as always the Flyers got better as the season went along.
"I didn't have a great handle on the juniors," Chaminade coach Mike Gallagher said. "James Harris played fantastic and Timothy McGovern was great. Ethan Ellsworth was phenomenal. Players we didn't know much about turned into very good players."