Cathedral boys soccer defeats Bemidji for section title, advances to state tournament

Cathedral boys soccer defeats Bemidji for section title, advances to state tournament

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Cathedral boys soccer defeats Bemidji for section title, advances to state tournament

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It’s quite a time for the St. Cloud Cathedral boys soccer team.

The Crusaders won a section title Thursday, Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of Cathedral’s most recent loss, and next week the Crusaders go back to the state tournament for the first time since 2010.

Cathedral scored three unanswered goals to eliminate Bemidji, 3-1, in the Section 8A championship Thursday at Husky Stadium on the St. Cloud State University campus.

“From getting second in the section last year to getting first this year feels great, I guess,” said Crusaders midfielder Alex Peterson.

Cathedral’s last loss was to Sartell in a shootout in the 2011 Section 8A final.

Peterson led the Crusaders with a pair of goals, both assisted by Hayden Speaks, and Schuweiler added the insurance goal early in the second half.

Cathedral will know its opponent, game time and place after the brackets are finalized Saturday.

The Crusaders have ended Bemidji’s season four seasons in a row.

“Even though we went unbeaten during the year up until the section tournament, we really didn’t show our ability,” said Cathedral coach John Pepper. “This was probably our best game of the season. We deserved to win tonight.”

The Lumberjacks scored first 2:49 into the game when Isak Sommer battled Cathedral goaltender Alan Flores and a Crusaders defender for a loose ball in the six-yard area in front of the goal and tapped it across the goal line.

The Crusaders made offensive chances hard to come by for the rest of the game.

“We really rely on our defense,” Schuweiler said. “It’s solid 99 percent of the time. We communicate well and we know what we’re doing.”

The Cathedral offense took some time to get going.

Speaks took the first shot on goal in the 23rd minute and got another on a sliding effort from 10 yards straight out early in the first half.

Cathedral defender Josh Robak tracked down Bemidji’s Riley Brooks on a breakaway and directed the ball from danger without allowing a shot off with 10 minutes to go before halftime.

Three minutes later, Speaks rolled a cross through the goal mouth past sliding Cathedral striker Austin Mareck onto Peterson’s foot back post and put it in to knot the score.

Peterson gave Cathedral the lead four minutes into the second half on similar play.

Speaks had the cross, John Fleegel couldn’t get a foot on the ball and Peterson waited all alone on the back post.

“I saw the cross, it came through and I just finished the chance,” Peterson said.

“I saw Hayden put his head down to cross it and I just went to the back post to finish the job.”

Schuweiler made it 3-1 in the 52nd minute and the Crusaders continued their dominance until the final whistle blew.

“I was in the forward area at the top of the box,” said Schuweiler, who sprained his left ankle (shooting foot) in the semifinal win against Hillcrest/Pelican Rapids Tuesday.

The decision to play Schuweiler was made 15 minutes before game time.

“I saw Hayden shoot and I was lucky to get the rebound and put it in.”

The Crusaders defeated Mounds View 1-0 in the first round of the 2010 state tournament, but fell to Mankato East, 1-0, in the semifinals.

Cathedral tied Bemidji 1-1 on Sept. 8 in Bemidji.

That was the sixth straight Crusaders win in the series going back to 2009.

Four of the victories were in the playoffs.

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