Every time St. Andrew’s fields a team in a state tournament, the school allows the entire student body to be a part of the experience and cheer their classmates.
So the bleachers at Caravel’s Bob Peoples Stadium were full of boisterous St. Andrew’s students on Wednesday night, but it almost backfired. The Saints’ boys soccer team was unnerved by all the attention.
But St. Andrew’s found its footing as the game went on, erupting for three goals in the final 13 minutes to pull away from Brandywine 4-1 in the opening round of the DIAA Division II Boys Soccer Tournament.
“He told us to just calm down on the ball,” Chris Hanrahan said of the halftime speech by Saints coach Matt Carroll. “He definitely noticed how antsy we were. That definitely hit home with us, especially with all the fans here. We’re not used to this many fans at our games.”
The St. Andrew’s students will have a longer trip Saturday, as the fifth-seeded Saints (11-4-1) will meet No. 4 Delmar at 6 p.m. at Cape Henlopen. Brandywine, the 12th seed, finished its season at 7-7-2.
The teams traded goals in the first half. Sam Lee scored for St. Andrew’s in the 26th minute, and the Bulldogs’ Jero Sneh netted the equalizer in the final minute of the half.
The Saints broke the tie in the 67th minute, when Teddy Park slipped a pass between two defenders directly to Justin Duncan, who scored into the lower left corner of the net.
“My teammate, Teddy, was trying to flick it out to me,” Duncan said. “It came straight to me. Then I just placed it, put it right where I wanted to.”
St. Andrew’s made it 3-1 in the 74th minute, as Hanrahan leaped to head in Colin Brownlee’s perfectly placed, 45-yard free kick.
“It was a great ball to the back post,” Hanrahan said. “I was getting frustrated at the beginning of the game, not playing too well. But after that goal, it really put some control back in the game.”
Lee added his second goal on a breakaway 17 seconds later, sending the Saints’ fans into another wild celebration.