St. X, Male reach boys’ soccer district final

St. X, Male reach boys’ soccer district final

Boys Soccer

St. X, Male reach boys’ soccer district final


After what he called a demoralizing start to the season, St. Xavier High School soccer coach Andy Schulten appears to have his team primed for another deep postseason run.

Junior Graham Reynolds and senior Dean Mock scored second-half goals and the host Tigers held on for a 2-1 victory over Collegiate on Tuesday in the semifinals of the 26th District Tournament.

St. X (12-7-2) — No. 6 in the state in the MaherRank­ Top 25 — advanced to face Male in Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. district final at Male, with both teams earning spots in next week’s Seventh Region Tournament. The Bulldogs beat Brown 7-1 in Tuesday’s other semifinal.

Male beat St. X 1-0 on Sept. 9, which was a part of the Tigers’ 1-4-2 record to start the season. But St. X is 11-3 since then and has won five straight.

“There were some demoralizing defeats out there that had us very frustrated and second-guessing ourselves,” Schulten said of his team’s slow start. “Sometimes you have to hit that point to realize, ‘I’m not going to let this happen anymore. Whatever it is, I’m just going to do something harder.’”

St. X-Collegiate: After a scoreless first half in which the Tigers outshot the No. 13 Titans 5-2, St. X finally got on the board midway through the second half.

Reynolds beat Collegiate defender Shawn Dripchak for a loose ball and then split two other defenders with a shot past goalkeeper Harper White with 20:09 left.

“We’ve been talking to (Reynolds) that when he gets isolated one-on-one to go at the guy and make him make a play,” Schulten said. “That was a fantastic play … a good, professional goal.”

With 13:55 left, Mock fired a shot past White for a 2-0 lead. Freshman Haji Abdikadir scored on a penalty kick to pull Collegiate within 2-1 with 10:45 left, but the Titans had few opportunities the rest of the way against a stout St. X defense.

Abdikadir’s goal was the first allowed by St. X during its current winning streak. All 11 of the Tigers’ previous victories this season were shutouts.

Schulten said the loss of senior defender Michael Elder to injury was one reason for the team’s slow start but has been impressed with the defense’s improvement. He pointed out junior Eric Brangers as a leader of the defense Tuesday.

“We’ve been rotating eight guys in our back and trying to keep them fresh,” Schulten said. “I don’t think any one of our defenders is a star, but collectively they’re all great.”

Reynolds said the Tigers are peaking at the right time and pleased to get another shot at rival Male.

“We were disappointed about that game and been thinking about it for a long time,” Reynolds said. “That’s one I’m looking forward to.”

It was a tough finish to a special season for Collegiate (14-4-2), which won the All “A” Classic state tournament for small schools last month. Coach Brad Davies is confident about the program’s future as three freshmen and three sophomores started Tuesday.

“We have to beat teams like St. X with the ball, and they made it tough for us to possess,” Davies said. “It became a north-south game, and we’re not going to win in that kind of match. We have to keep the ball to win.”

Male-Brown: Mark Zamora’s hat trick lifted the Bulldogs (10-9-1) over the Bears (1-11-5).

Dylan Prow, Dalton Pence, Bailey Wheeler and Michael Noble also scored for Male. Michael Walker scored for Brown.

Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.


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