St. X Soccer Defeats Collegiate to Begin Postseason
It’s win-or-go-home time for Saint Xavier Soccer. Tuesday night, they got their postseason started against the Collegiate Titans in the first round of the District 26 tournament. After Male High School defeated Brown High School by a final score of 7-1, the Tigers knew they would get a shot at revenge if they could get past the Titans first.
They will get their shot at redemption after defeating Collegiate 2-1 on a cool night. There was no rain to deal with, and the St. X offense took advantage of the game relocation to Brother Thomas More Stadium, scoring two goals in a seven-minute span in the second half to secure its second win over Collegiate this season.
The first half featured a lot of back-and-forth action, with both teams getting a couple of good scoring chances but coming up empty-handed. Collegiate goalie Harper White and St. X junior goalkeeper Davis George were both stout in goal in the first 40 minutes, and the score was knotted up at 0-0 at halftime.
“My defense played exceptionally well,” George said. “They absolutely rose to the occasion. I think it just clicked today, and we had everyone playing as a team, not just for themselves.”
The game remained scoreless into the second half, but the Tigers broke through in the 60th minute, as junior midfielder Graham Reynolds maneuvered the ball inside the Titans’ box and flicked a slow roller just past White for the first goal of the game.
In the 67th minute, senior striker Dean Mock found himself just outside the box with space to shoot, and he fired a rocket into the back of the net to give St. X a second goal for insurance.
“Well, there was window between two defenders, and Clayton Burruss sent me a beautiful ball,” Mock explained. “I had a sense that I didn’t want to end my soccer career here. I had to make that shot, and I did.”
St. X Head Coach Andy Schulten had been waiting for Mock to breakthrough for a while now, saying that he has been great in practice.
“Dean has been making those shots in practice all season,” said Coach Schulten.
The Titans put one past George in the 70th minute on a penalty kick, but the Tigers held on for the final ten minutes to advance. After the game, the Tigers celebrated in front of a rowdy Rage Cage that was cheering loudly all night.
“It was great,” Mock explained. “We didn’t want to bring shame to the St. X soccer program by being knocked out this early. We knew what we had to do. We have to keep going.”
The Tigers’ win sets up a huge showdown for the 26th District Championship against Male on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on the Bulldogs’ home grass. During the regular season, St. X dropped a 1-0 match to Male at home that was part of an early four-game losing streak. Now, the Tigers have won five straight games and have one thing on their minds: revenge.
“I am furious that they won the first leg,” Mock said. “I think the whole team wants to put [Male] in their place. They know where they’re at, and we know where we’re at.”
Both St. X and Male will advance to the Seventh Region Tournament regardless of the final outcome Thursday night. If the Tigers want to get out of the seventh region, they will likely have to go through arch-rival and #1 Trinity, but Mock is confident that the team has the necessary pieces to return to the promise land and take home a state title.
“I think we work harder than any other team, and just because we couldn’t string things together at the beginning of the season doesn’t mean we can’t now,” Mock explained. “We’re getting better and better every game, and I think we will keep our momentum and keep rolling.”
“Each day, I’m thankful for every second I spend on this field, and I don’t want it to end anytime soon,” Mock said. “When it does end, I want to feel like I did everything I could to prevent that.”