Salesianum has a simple recipe for winning soccer games.
Hold the other team to zero.
The Sals did it for the 15th time this season on Wednesday night, limiting Caesar Rodney to one shot in a 2-0 victory in the semifinals of the DIAA Division I Boys Soccer Tournament.
Top-seeded Salesianum (16-0-1), which stands third nationally in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings, will go for its 10th state championship in 12 years against Appoquinimink at 7 p.m. Saturday at Smyrna. No. 5 Caesar Rodney finished its season at 13-4.
“We played really well defensively, worked really hard,” Sallies coach Scott Mosier said. “We missed a lot of chances, but we got a lot of chances. We played our system, and we got our chances where we expected to get them.
“You’ve got to give Caesar Rodney a lot of credit, they really played hard. Down 1-0, they came out and tried to get the goal back, and fortunately we got the second goal and that really helped.”
The Sals struck first in the ninth minute when Joe Cain created a turnover and scored from 12 yards out.
“It was off a free kick, and I just intercepted it and got a breakaway and went straight to goal,” Cain said. “The opportunity presented itself, so we just capitalized on it.”
The Riders’ only shot came in the 49th minute, when Chimaobi Ikwuagwu wheeled to his left from 15 yards out but was easily stopped by Salesianum goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard.
“Every game, we just want to go out and not let up any goals,” Lundgaard said. “… We just have experience and we put a lot of pressure on their strikers, not letting them turn. We have a lot of communication with each other. We know where everybody is at all times.”
Sallies made it 2-0 in the 54th minute when Matt Paranczak chipped in Michael DiSabatino’s short pass. The Sals’ defense, which has allowed only two goals all season, took it from there.