PARIS – The weather was determined the winner at the 10th Region All “A” Classic boys’ soccer championship game on Saturday.
Calvary Christian took a 4-1 lead into halftime, when the game was delayed due to lightning and later called for the day due to field conditions. The two will now wait to hear whether the game will be continued at Calvary Christian, according to the coaches.
“I don’t know when it’s going to be played because we’ve got an away game Tuesday and two home games – one Thursday and one Saturday – so it’ll be up to the athletic directors to see when they can try to fit it in,” said St. Patrick coach Michael Parsons.
Calvary Christian claimed the title in last year’s tournament, outscoring their two opponents a combined 20-0, and they were in attack mode from the start on Saturday, putting up 19 shots in the first half, 11 of which were on target.
“We do have confidence coming in this year just because of the results of last year, but our guys are determined to take it another step this year, so they’ve been working hard and we’re hoping to take it to the next level even,” said Calvary Christian coach Michael McCarthy.
The Cougars notched their first goal of the contest just over 7 minutes in when Mason Rusch put a ball off his head to the feet of Alec Lockard, which then found it’s way to the feet of Zach McNeil, who put a low shot past the slide of St. Patrick goalkeeper Caleb Poczatek.
“It’s what we practiced yesterday. We put a lot of emphasis into moving the ball, making sure we got the ball wide and attacking from the wings,” said McCarthy. “We were able to put that into play the first 40 minutes.”
The Cougars added another with just over 26 minutes to play in the half when McNeil spun around a defender, made his way through three Saints and passed a ball back to Rusch. The junior fired the ball into the back of the net and added another goal less than a minute later for the early 3-0 lead.
“Basically they were just running the ball straight through the center and to the mouth of the goal,” said Parsons. “They were coming at us pretty direct. We let a few runners get by that ultimately they scored on, but honestly I thought that the second half would be a lot different. I guess we’ll see.”
Rusch is known for his scoring on the hardwood, finishing eighth in the state last year with 26.7 points per game, but has proven his ability on the pitch as well.
“He has a nose for scoring,” said McCarty. “You can’t say much more than that and you can’t really teach it a whole lot, but he knows where to be and how to put it in the goal.”
St. Patrick got a goal back with 16:25 remaining in the first half when Marvin Koch played a low ball through to Alain Lopez. The freshman was met by Calvary Christian keeper Reed Gilbert, but managed to get just enough of the ball to make it slowly roll into the goal.
“Hopefully when we go to Calvary Christian we can show them what we’re made of and be able to do what we’re supposed to do and play as a team and come out with a win,” said Parsons.
Poczatek did what he could to try to keep the Cougars from scoring and keeping the Saints within three, coming up with eight saves in the half, but St. Patrick mishit a ball played into their box and it ended up an own goal, giving Calvary Christian the 4-1 advantage they’d take into the half.
“He played pretty well. The goal that he was in was nothing but mud, so it was hard for him to stand up. I’m not giving him any excuses, but he still played well under those conditions,” said Parsons. “I was kind of looking forward to the next half.”
If the result stands, St. Patrick would fall to 4-2-1. They’re scheduled to travel to East Carter on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game. Calvary Christian would remain unbeaten at 5-0-0 and would take on Newport Central Catholic on Wednesday in another All “A” game. If they get the other half rescheduled, Calvary Christian is confident they can finish the job.
“We’re ready to play at any time,” said McCarthy. “We’ll make some adjustments and if we have to play another half we’ll be ready to roll.”