Defending state soccer champion St. Xavier stretched its two-season winning streak to 30 games, but South Oldham pushed the Tigers to the limit before falling 3-2 on penalty kicks in the Land Rover Kentucky Cup final Saturday night at Ballard.
Regulation play ended in a 2-2 deadlock when South Oldham’s Trent Howard scored after a long free kick by Isaac Meisner with 3:32 left in the game. The tie-breaker followed with five players from each team competing in penalty kicks against the other team’s goalie.
It was 3-3 in PKs after DePaul commitment Adam Kirsch, Jon Otting and Kaelon Fox made shots for St. X and Meisner, Hunter Lewis and Alex Benson scored for South Oldham.
The South Oldham goalie, sophomore Griffin Smith, blocked St. X’s second shot by Campbell Weyland, and St. X goalie Patrick Schwarz dove to his left to knock away South Oldham’s first shot by Christian Lister.
It came down to the last two shooters. David Means hit his shot into the right corner of the net for St. X’s fourth PK. The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in the state this season, won when Schwarz caught the last shot by the Dragons’ Nathan Ball.
“Means is our leader,” St. X coach Andy Schulten said. “When I asked for five players to raise their hand if they wanted to shoot, David was one of them.”
Schulten, whose 2011 team won its last 26 games in a 27-1-1 season, also praised Schwarz’s clutch play.
“He’s our No. 2 goalie,” Schulten said. “Wes Luvisi is out with a thumb injury. I have confidence in Patrick. That first save he made was big time. He was a superhero on that one.”
Schwarz said, “I was going left and I thought he (Ball) was going the other way, but I adjusted.”
St. X won three Cup games to raise its season mark to 4-0. After a scoreless first half, the Tigers took a 1-0 lead when Fox took a long kick from Otting and volleyed the ball in with 35:07 left in the first half. South Oldham (2-2-1) quickly tied it at the 33:09 mark when Lister took a long free kick from Hunter Lewis and scored.
The Tigers went ahead 2-1 after a penalty on South Oldham in the box. Weyland took the penalty kick and scored with 19:54 remaining.
South Oldham coach Kenneth Burke praised his never-say-die Dragons.
“I couldn’t ask for any more from those kids,” he said. “They gave their heart and soul to that game. Every time St. X scored we came back and tied it. We fought to the final kick.”