Author Archives: Chris Raymond
Wednesday night the Tiger Lacrosse Team took on rival Trinity in the State Semifinals in the hopes of continuing its successful season. The Tigers showed pure dominance on the field and ultimately ousted the Rocks by a final score of 10-2. St. X now heads on to the State Championship, a place the Tigers are very fond of and accustomed to. The opponent will be the Bearcats of Kentucky Country Day, a team the Tigers haven’t faced in years. Here’s what we learned from the semifinal game and what we should expect to see in the title game tonight.
Goals will come in heavy spurts. The Tiger offense has really been clicking the past few games, though it’s not the constant onslaught of goals one would expect. The offense likes to go on runs, catching the opponent while they aren’t paying attention. As seen in the semifinal matchup, the Tigers only led Trinity by three (4-1) at half, and soon the lead was diminished to two goals in the third quarter. The St. X offense responded with a 6-0 run to give themselves a commanding lead. This spurt of goals came just in time and ultimately led them to victory.
The Tigers’ injuries have been covered up perfectly. During the season, St. X has experienced multiple injuries, ranging from senior attackman Jack Muldoon’s torn ACL in the first game of the season to senior defenseman Owen Peters’ hurt foot. Fortunately, the team hasn’t missed a beat. In Wednesday night’s game against Trinity, we saw the exiting emergence of sophomore defender Paul Porter, who has been filling in for Peters since his injury. Not only did Porter do his job, he excelled beyond expectations. In my opinion, Porter put up the strongest defensive performance of the night, which is a tough task being paired with multi-year starter Caleb Grimes and senior Davis Kannapell. On the midfielder end, we’ve seen figures such as seniors Tanner Black and Jack Werner emerge to run the ball up and down the field. These two have played outstanding lacrosse recently and will be huge in the championship.
Scott Howe has done it again. Every year the lacrosse team is new at the beginning, yet Coach Howe always manages to bring it together as a unit by the end. The team we saw Wednesday night was of the highest caliber, and the style was classic Coach Howe. There was not a single St. X player that dominated the Trinity game. Scoring came from a myriad of players, from the attack to the first two lines of midfielders. Everyone was getting touches, making it impossible for the opponent defense to shut down one specific player. This quality is the reason why everyone dreads playing St. X. It would not surprise me if upwards of 6 different players scored in the championship game. That’s just how versatile this team is.
The Tigers take on KCD at Br. Thomas More Page Stadium at 7:00 tonight. After tossing out a solid prediction for the last game, I couldn’t resist making another for the championship. My prediction is Tigers win 14-2. Again, Tiger Nation, it’s your turn. You did an outstanding job Wednesday night. Follow it up, and we will undoubtedly hear screams, shouts and cheers of “BACK TO BACK.”
Go Tigers! We Are!
Wednesday night (TOMORROW), Saint Xavier Lacrosse will play its most important game of the season, and this year it’s coming a little earlier than expected. The Tigers will face arch rival Trinity in the state semifinal matchup. For the past 10 years, it seems as though every year it has come down to the two teams in the championship, which is interesting due to the fact that the playoff seeding is completely random. This year, however, the Tigers will need to show out in the semis against the Rocks if they want the chance to play for the State Championship. It’s the most exciting part of the season – win or go home – and the Tigers are ready to win.
Of course the two rivals battled it out in a fun regular season matchup. The Tigers went in the favorite and left the same way, yet the game was nothing short of a challenge. The two teams traded goals the entire game up until the final moments, when a short run put Trinity up by two goals. The Tigers managed to get two goals in the final 45 seconds to push the game to sudden death overtime, where St. X would eventually win on a Leland Gray goal at the buzzer.
This time around, though, there will many changes in the flow of the game. Both teams have had their fair share of bumps and bruises since the regular season game, causing each team change up its system. Fortunately for the Tigers, the only difference should be on defense, where sophomore Paul Porter will be playing in place of senior Owen Peters, who suffered a foot injury just before the Virginia spring break trip.
Trinity has really been hit hard. Senior long-stick midfielder Jeremiah Hemme was hurt for the remainder of the season after breaking his wrist during the previous St. X vs. Trinity matchup. Hemme was a D-1 recruit who was an enforcer on defense while also being a scoring threat, putting two goals past Max Cartor during the regular season match. Senior attackman Austin Graehler will also miss the rest of the season with a broken foot. Graehler scored five goals in the previous game against St. X.
St. X has been the dominant force in the past seven years, and this year should be no different. Porter has stepped in for Owen Peters and played well. He was able to get experience in the trip up to Virginia, and has really become a force on defense. The duo of Coleman Webb and Alex Cherry in the faceoff circle has been straight up dirty. We’re talking about a reigning All-American (Webb) and another senior who’s played just as well or even better at some points in the season.
The biggest thing for me is the injuries on Trinity’s end. The Rocks mustered 9 goals against St. X in what was just about the best game they could have played…and 7 of those 9 goals came from the two players who won’t be in uniform tomorrow. I just don’t see Trinity being able to put two people out there that are as effective as Hemme and Graehler. They already relied on two players to carry the bulk of the team, and now with the two players out, they have no one to turn to.
I’ve been watching every game this season, I’ve played the game for years and I’ve also had inside talks with players. My prediction is St. X wins 12-4. I can’t guarantee that score, but I can tell you that this game will be very different from the one we saw in Marshall Stadium during the regular season. One thing we can’t overlook, Tiger Nation, is that the crowd will play a part in this game; it always has, and it always will. So get out to Br. Thomas More Page Stadium and get rowdy.
Go Tigers! We Are!
For most students at St. X, spring break was time for relaxation and no worries. The lacrosse team is not like most St. X students. During the week long hiatus from school, the Tiger lacrosse squad drove the 10 hour trip up to Virginia beach where they faced some of the best competition in the country. This trip proved to be a huge help in Wednesday night’s big district matchup against Collegiate, where the Tigers faced an interesting Titans team that had knocked off Trinity the week after spring break.
After all of the build-up for the match against Collegiate, the Tigers ended up winning by a score of 15-2.
Though the game was not even close to the thrilling ride many were expecting, it did prove many things.
1.) The spring break trip really, really helps. The lacrosse team makes the long trek up to Virginia every year, and always comes back a completely different team. Every move out on the field seems more polished and confident. Trinity, who usually makes a trip somewhere, decided not to this year, and felt the effects in their loss to a team who the Tigers destroyed 15-2 Wednesday night. I think the scores speaks for themselves.
2.) Our faceoff combo is fantastic. Wednesday’s night, the Tigers did not lose a single faceoff the entire game. Alex Cherry got the start, but Coleman Webb took a major chunk of the work as well. The two proved to be unstoppable in a vital area of the game. Their success was a major factor in the win Wednesday night, and it’s exciting to see what they will do in the postseason.
3.) Our Attack is fun to watch, and works well together. In Wednesday night’s beat-down, the one man show of Will Edwards driving to the middle was in full effect. Edwards quickly picked up four goals in the game. Leland Gray worked on the edge of the crease, picking up feeds from Roppel, and finishing with five goals on the night. Roppel finished with two goals and a myriad of assists on the night. Each Attackman has their own style, yet they’ve somehow managed to make it work together and put up goals in bulk.
With only two regular season games left for the lacrosse team, the end is quickly approaching. The season is finally starting to pan out, and what we are finding looks pretty good. The Tigers play Cinci St. X this Saturday in a big away game. Next Tuesday night is senior night, and the Tigers will host Christian Academy.
Wednesday night the Tiger Lacrosse team played arch rival Trinity in one of the most competitive games of the season so far. Neither team played especially well, but still gave the fans a great game to watch. After regular time and one overtime period, the Tigers claimed the sudden death victory over the Rocks 10-9.
There couldn’t have been much of a closer game. Every time St. X scored, Trinity found a way to respond and tie the game again. St. X started faster than Trinity. Blake Roshkowski started off the night of scoring with low rip from outside. After Trinity matched the Tigers goal, Leland Gray and Will Edwards each out one in, giving the Tigers the biggest lead of the night. After the first quarter of play, St. X led 3-2.
Only one more goal was added in the second quarter, and the game went into halftime with a score of 4-4. To start the second half, Will Edwards netted two more goals of his own, and the Tigers carried a 6-5 lead heading into the final regulation quarter.
The two teams traded goals in the start of the fourth quarter, and the score stood as 7-6. With about two minutes left, the momentum shifted in favor of Trinity on many different levels. The rocks were able to tie the game and then go up by two goals heading into the final two minutes of regulation. Trinity possessed the ball up until the final minute, where the Tiger defense forced a huge turnover. With 34 seconds left Collin Roppel took action by himself and made a great one on one move from behind the net, scoring the diving goal to decrease the Trinity lead to one goal.
In the final moments of regulation, midfielder Alex Cherry made several huge faceoff wins which drastically affected the turn in momentum. After Roppel’s goal. Cherry won the faceoff and dished it to Roshkowski, who ripped another dime from way outside, tying the game at 9-9 with 24 seconds left. We were headed into overtime.
Nearly the entire overtime period passed with no score. Trinity was given the man advantage midway through the period and had a good look at the goal, but nobody scores on THE Max Cartor late in important games. Cartor stepped into the close rip and blocked it with his gloves. The penalty was released and a string of turnovers ensued. With seconds left on the clock, Trinity made a bad turnover near the midline. Sophomore phenom Blake Roshkowski picked up the ball and immediately pushed it up field. After drawing the Trinity defender, Roshkowski dished it off to Gray, who was left one on one with goalie. Gray, who throws some of the dirtiest fakes in the game, stuck the goal as time expired, giving the Tigers the 10-9 sudden death victory over the Shamrocks.
MVP’s for the game:
Alex Cherry: There is no doubt in my mind that Cherry deserves some of the biggest attention from Wednesday night’s game. He showed out at many points that often don’t receive much accolade, yet can determine the course of a game. Cherry has been tearing it up all season at the faceoff X. When his name was called late in the game, he stepped up to the plate and destroyed the Trinity faceoff man. His four massive faceoff wins late in the fourth quarter are definitely one of the biggest reasons why we are celebrating this win. This right here is why Cherry is one of my MVP’s for the night.
Will Edwards: Through all the nerves imposed by the idea of this being such a big game, many player’s games were affected, but not Edwards’. After struggling to find the net in his first couple of games in the season, he has slowly come back into his grove, tearing up the field. In the Trinity game Wednesday night, Edwards led all scoring with four goals, which ultimately had a huge impact on the game. This right here is why Edwards is one of my MVP’s for the night.
Max Cartor: We all know Max, AKA “the brick wall”, “the iron curtain”, or even “the road block”. What was impressive about Cartor’s game Wednesday night was his ability to adapt. Early on, Trinity stuck some great shots on Cartor’s off stick side. However, by the time the second half rolled around, he had adjusted. On two separate shots, Cartor made ridiculous saves coming all the way across his body. Also, his huge save in overtime was so important and handled with so much ease, that I thought it would be crazy if he was not one of my MVP’s for the night.
Tonight, the Tiger lacrosse team will take on archrival Trinity High School in a highly-touted match up between two of the best teams in the state. Trinity will enter the game 5-3, with their losses coming from three tough out-of-state opponents. The Shamrocks have performed far beyond preseason expectations, and looks to be a great matchup against our own Tigers.
“They are really strong in every area, and their improvement through the year has really shown,” remarked senior St. X goalie Max Cartor. “But we feel confident playing at this field and will be ready to rock and roll come game time.”
To this point in the season, the Tigers and Rocks have played two of the same teams. Both took on Lexington Catholic, where Trinity defeated them 13-3 and St. X won 13-1. Also, both teams hosted Libertyville High School from Illinois. The Rocks narrowly defeated them 11-7, while St. X handled them easily with the final score of 14-7.
The two similar matchups don’t really tell us much about what we could expect Wednesday night, though. All we know is that it will be a good matchup in all areas of the field.
Who should we look out for? Well, senior LSM Jeremiah Hemme has been a strong force on the defensive side of the field, also extending his game to the offense on fast breaks and transitions. Senior Max Stratton has put up buckets of goals as a midfielder for the Rocks. The two pose a threat to our Tigers, but shouldn’t be anything they can’t handle. St. X will also be content to face Trinity without Jackson Lienhart, a senior attackman signed with Bellarmine University who wreaked havoc on St. X as a junior last season. He has since transferred to Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, and therefore will be far away from Marshall Stadium tonight.
Of course for the Tigers, Cartor, attackman Collin Roppel, and junior defenseman Caleb Grimes have been studs on the field this year. Roppel’s offensive command has led the Tigers through multiple big games, while Grimes and Cartor have left offenses frustrated with their lockdown defense.
In the past three years, the Tigers have led the head-to-head matchup, claiming 4 of the 6 meetings between the rivaling teams, with two of the wins coming from State Championship games.
The game is Wednesday night at 7:00 hosted by Trinity. It’s a black out, so let’s get out there, get rowdy, and beat the Weeds!
Saint Xavier Lacrosse has taken no time off this season, as the Tigers experienced substantial success against out-of-state teams and dominated another in-state foe. Let’s take a look at their week in review.
Last Saturday, the Tigers drove the two hour trip up to Zionsville, Indiana where they played a great game against Zionsville High School. St. X roared offensively throughout the game, putting up 14 goals. The attack led the way, with Collin Roppel scoring 4 goals and dishing out 6 assists, Leland Gray netting 4 goals and Will Edwards putting in 4. In the end, St. X defeated the strong Indiana team 14-7, boosting its record to 3-0 on the season.
The next day, the Tigers rose early to take on highly-touted Carmel High School from Indianapolis. Carmel proved to be a bigger force than Zionsville and kept St. X in a close battle from start to finish. The bulk of the offense came from the middies in this game, seeing many familiar names like Blake Roshkowski, Alex Cherry, and Corbyn Buchart put in work. Regulation ended in a 9-9 tie. In sudden-death overtime, Carmel scored first on a controversial call, as the Greyhound who scored the goal was probably in the crease, which would have negated the goal. The Tigers fell by a final score of 9-10, giving them their first loss of the season.
The Indiana trip was a good one for the team. Although they split the games, the overtime push against Carmel proved that defeating this squad will be very tough.
The following Wednesday, St. X hosted Henry Clay High School. Henry Clay did not give the Tigers much of a game, and St. X handled the Blue Devils easily from the start. The final score stood at 14-2, and the Tigers were able to rotate all of their players through the game.
This past Saturday, St. X welcomed Libertyville High School from Chicago following prom night for the seniors. Libertyville was able to hold the ball for some parts of the game, yet St. X still dominated most of the match. Edwards again showed out, finishing with four goals. The individual defensive effort by goalie Max Cartor was great as well, as he put up one of his best performances of the season so far. In the end, the Tigers won 14-7 over the visiting Wildcats.
This coming Wednesday is the big rivalry game. St. X travels to Trinity in what will be one of the toughest matchups of the season. Recently, Trinity has looked good, beating Libertyville 11-7 the day after the Tigers played them. St. X will hope to keep the young offense and big, experienced Trinity defense in check to continue on the road to another State Championship.
The Tiger Lacrosse team defeated Manual 24-1 Wednesday night. And no, that’s not a misprint. In fact, it’s almost what we expected after last year’s national record-setting 33-2 victory over the Crimsons. The Tigers came, they conquered, and took care of business on their way to another win, making them 2-0 on the season.
After the first game, it was obvious the St. X team had a surplus of talent, and in their scrimmage against Upper Arlington last weekend, huge progress was shown. The Tigers dominated Manual, allowing the ball to get on their defensive end of the field only two times in the entire first half. Attackman Collin Roppel continued his magic around the net, getting a hat trick less than five minutes into the game, and the goals kept coming. Leland Gray added 3 more and the middies relentlessly shot on the Manual goalie. The offense flowed fruitfully in the first half stemming from dominant wins at the face off circle. By the time the first half came to a close, St. X led 18-0 over the Rams.
“The first half of play had some of the best ball movement I’ve seen in a while,” remarked senior attackman Will Edwards, who scored 2 goals of his own as well as dishing out 4 assists.
The defense didn’t get many touches in this game, yet they were ready whenever they were needed. Once again the powerful forces of Davis Kannapell, Owen Peters, Caleb Grimes, and Max Cartor held down the fort, squandering any glimpses of a Crimson offensive opportunity.
“The game was definitely a little slow on our defensive end,” Cartor explained. “But it was still fun, and we responded when we needed to.”
St. X eventually allowed a goal late in the third quarter to the Rams, but they responded with more goals. Sophomore Joey Mackin made great use of his playing time, netting a couple goals and junior J.C. Storner racked up two assists in the late moments of the game.
The final score was 24-1, with St. X winning their second regular season game.
Next up for the Tigers is another road trip this weekend, where they face Zionsville in Indiana. Gametime is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday.
After its last game against Lexington Catholic, it was obvious the Tiger Lacrosse team had serious potential for their upcoming season. Saturday the team traveled four hours north to face Upper Arlington High School, the #2 ranked team in the Midwest and last years Ohio State champions. For the few fans who made the trip, St. X put on a memorable show.
Defense, defense, and more defense. That alone could sufficiently describe the Tiger’s outing Saturday morning. Nothing passed through St. X’s zone easily for Upper Arlington, a team that is used to putting up big scores. The duo of Max Cartor and Caleb Grimes, who have been starting together for three years now, showed its competence when faced with huge opponents. The squad had one of its best defensive efforts they could remember, holding Arlington to just five goals.
You can’t win a game without goals, though, and the offense picked up right where the defense left off. Leland Gray finished one goal and Collin Roppel continued his great start to the season posting his second consecutive hat trick. The midfield showed their ability to run on both ends of the field, and the Tigers put up a solid offensive showing overall. Their performance set in stone that they can play with any team in the nation.
Next up for St. X is an away game at Manual on Wednesday, March 18th starting at 7:00.
Saint Xavier Lacrosse finally had its first game of the season on Wednesday night. Well, that is, the first game they’ve been able to play. With the coming of an arctic blast of weather last week, the first two scheduled games were cancelled, and the team was left with yet again a long stream of practice cancellations. With the impact of the weather, it was interesting to see the team’s fluidity in their first game again Lexington Catholic, and the effects were definitely felt.
In the first half, the offense was a mix of good and bad plays along with multiple missed opportunities. It took two rising middies, junior Corbin Buchart and sophmore Blake Roshkowski, to boost the Tigers to a 6-1 lead after the first half of play.
“We definitely had a slow first half” said senior Attackman Collin Roppel, who scored all three of his goals in the second half. “But things definitely starting picking up in the second.”
The Tigers slowly took firm control of the game in the second half. Junior defenseman Caleb Grimes attributed the second half success to the efforts of the defensive unit, noting multiple big saves by senior goalie Max Cartor. The improvement from first half to second half was drastic, and the Tigers eventually finished the Knights 13-1.
The first game definitely was rough in some parts. Put well by Cartor: “This was the best worst game I’ve ever seen.” The game was not smooth, but the team as a whole showed their ability to come together in unison, and the projections looked outstanding. The weapons at every position are deeper than ever before, and morale is high for the team coming off of their first win of the season.”
Thursday night the Tigers battled against arch-rival Trinity in their third playoff game. The Tigers came into the game holding on to a seven game winning streak, and hoped to continue their pace.
Trinity, who beat St. X 2-0 in the regular season matchup, proved to be too much for the Tigers to handle, though, and defeated St. X by a final score of 3-0.
Just as the previous matchup had gone, the game started out even, with both teams having good offensive pressure. Nearing the end of the first half, Trinity broke through the Tiger’s defensive line with a great cross, and Kyler Armistead scored the first goal of the game.
The Rocks carried the momentum into the second half, as they continually pressured the Tiger’s end of the field. Again in the 52nd minute, Armistead scored, boosting the Rocks out to a 2-0 lead.
The final goal was scored by Trinity in the 70th minute on a header by Drew Goetze after a beautiful corner kick from Sam Stockton, giving the Rocks a nearly impenetrable lead as the game headed into the final ten minutes of action. After full time, the Rocks prevailed victorious over the Tigers, knocking St. X out of the playoffs and ending the Tigers’ season.
“We had trouble coming from behind and rebounding from the goals,” said senior midfielder and captain Clay Brown. “We played the game we were going to play and that’s about it. Goals were going to be let in, but we just couldn’t rebound.”
“I wish we could have given you guys a better result,” remarked Senior Dean Mock, “But I’m proud of the way we fought. I appreciate all the fans coming out.”
As far as looking back on his soccer journey at St. X, Brown was nothing short of grateful.
“The tradition at St. X is great, but its really the guys and the memories with the team that are the best.”
Trinity has advanced to play KCD in Region 7 Final on October 25th.
All of us here at WSTX Sports want to give the Tiger Soccer team our best wishes, and thank them for such a great 2014 season. It was certainly one to be remembered.
The St. X soccer team advanced over Ballard High School on Tuesday night to keep themselves on track towards the state championship. In what was a scoreless game for 90 full minutes, The Tigers prevailed in penalty kicks to knock out the Bruins, who had defeated the Tigers 1-0 earlier in the regular season.
Solid possessions were hard to come by for both teams in the match, and the scoreboard reflected this. St. X had dominated in recent games, but their scoring fire power was tamed by the Bruins defense. After full regulation time had passed and still no team had scored, the teams played two 5-minute halves of sudden death overtime. St. X finally started to attack hard on net in the second overtime period, but still could not convert.
Overtime passed, and the game went in to penalty kicks. Both Ballard and the Tigers made their first three penalty kicks. On Ballard’s fourth attempt, Bruin striker Tucker Monheimer hit the ball high and far outside of the goal. Junior Colin Kremer followed the Bruin miss, nailing the ball “exactly where I always hit it in practice.” The game came down to Graham Reynold’s attempt. He struck the ball with poise and netted it past the keeper, immediately ending the game and giving St. X the victory.
“I was completely confident in our team,” Junior Goalie Davis George said after the game. “We’re starting to play as a team and people are starting to notice us.”
“This team can do a lot more than most people think,” Reynolds said with a smile, having just clinched the victory. “Our work ethic and skill combined puts us at a level that’s beyond most other teams in the state.” Thursday night, Graham explained, is just another chance to show “everybody that we can be the best.”
St. X plays Trinity in a grudge match on Thursday at Assumption Green in the next round of playoffs. Trinity, who defeated the Tigers in the regular season by a score of 2-0, is coming off of their first round of regional playoffs, where they defeated Central High School by enforcing the mercy rule, 10-0. In the earlier match between the Tigers and the Rocks, the difference in score came late in the game off of two quick goals from Trinity’s Greg Fischer.
So far in the playoffs, St. X has defeated two teams that beat them previously in the regular season.
“That certainly seems to be a trend, doesn’t it,” said Kremer with a smirk. “I love the underdog role. We don’t have anything to lose. Whatever happens happens, but we’re going to put it all on the line.”
St. X is currently rolling on a 7 game winning streak, and the Tigers don’t intend to have their streak stopped on Thursday.
Thursday night was redemption night for the Tiger Soccer team. After defeating Collegiate 2-1 in the first round of district play, the Tigers squared off against Male High School, who had defeated St. X 1-0 earlier in the season
Regular season wins don’t carry over into playoffs, however, and Male found this out the hard way. St. X’s offense and defense came out ready to play in prime form, and crushed the Bulldogs by a final score of 5-1.
Its hard to believe that this current Tiger offense went on a four game skid of not scoring any goals early in the regular season, especially after Thursday night’s performance. St. X made some big changes in their offensive scheme late in the year, moving Andrew Schaefer more towards a center-mid position, and creating the new offensive striker pair of Klayton Grimes and Dean Mock.
The striking tandem of Mock and Grimes has proven to be essential in the Tigers scoring efforts, and they continued create goals against Male. In the 11th minute, Grimes was given a perfect through-ball up the middle of the field and past the Male defenders. With a quick touch, Grimes stuck his shot into the back of the net, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
As halftime neared, the Tiger offense once again began to penetrate the shaky Bulldog defense. In the 34th minute, St. X’s wonder-boy Dean Mock swooped into Male’s goalie box. Mock ripped a shot past the goalie, pushing St. X out to a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
The Tigers experienced a quick scare coming out of the break, as Male quickly ran down the field and scored, making it a close 2-1 game with an entire second half to play. St. X responded with poise, though, and scored two quick goals in the 54th minute to crush the Bulldog’s small momentum. The Tigers dominated the last 25 minutes of play, adding another goal in the 76th minute. At the end of the game, Tiger Soccer took home the 5-1 victory.
After Tuesday night’s win over Collegiate, senior and goal scoring prodigy Mock said that the Tiger soccer team would put Male in their place. After the victory he explained the key aspects to their victory over the Bulldogs.
“Our entire team stepped up,” Mock said. “We really showed them that their first win over us was a total fluke.”
Senior Klayton Grimes, who has been a top scorer consistently all season, explained why the win felt so great.
“Its been a rough season and we’re finally bringing it together, Grimes said. “Every part of the team is working well together.”
“We’re going to win state or die trying,” Mock finished with complete sincerity.
With their great performance against Male, the Tigers won the district tournament. Next up for St. X is the regional tournament, where they look to bring their perfectly cooperating team. Every game is important, and St. X hopes to leave everything they’ve worked for out on the field.
Saint Xavier Soccer was back at it again on Saturday, facing St. Henry High School in the last regular season game of the year. Coming off of one of their more impressive in-state victories against Oldham County, the Tigers looked to continue the build up of momentum heading into the district tournament.
Once again, it was senior Dean Mock’s energizing presence which brought good fortune for the Tiger offense in the first half. After two close unsuccessful tries on net, Mock finally broke past the defense and finished for a goal in the 21st minute, giving St. X an early 1-0 lead.
St. Henry showed no signs of giving up, however, and fought with the Tigers to the very end. St. X’s defense was up to the task and handled most of the Redskins’ offensive chances, even with “a couple of defensive breakdowns,” according to senior defensive anchor George McCracken.
After a scoreless second half of play, St. X claimed their final regular season victory with a score of 1-0.
“We should do well,” McCracken said about the upcoming district and state tournaments. “There’s really no team that can match our abilities. It’s our mistakes that have lost us games. If we just keep our mistakes to a low, we’ll be fine.”
The path to state for the Tigers begins with a game on Tuesday, the 14th of October, against Collegiate High School. The game will be played at Male High School, and St. X looks to win and advance on their way towards redemption.
“We’re hungry for the State Title,” Senior Dean Mock said after the Tiger’s victory over Oldham County High School. “We’ve got to score a lot of goals,” Mock continued.
The Tigers certainly showed their improved form in Thursday night’s game against Oldham County, as Mock scored two goals en route to a 5-0 victory.
Just like previous times this season, Junior Colin Kremer started off the scoring for the Tigers with a 25 yard shot that breezed by the goalie’s face, giving St. X a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. Nearly 12 minutes later, Dean Mock put in his first of two goals on the night.
With two minutes left in the first half, senior midfielder and captain Andrew Schaefer found himself on the top right edge of the goalie box. From there, he fired a shot which curved all the way around the Colonel defense, going off of the far post and into the goal. Schaefer’s shot, which could compete for the best Tiger goal of the season, gave St. X a 3-0 lead heading into halftime.
The scoring was not finished yet for the Tigers, though they held a sizable lead. Junior Matthew Phelan entered the game as a substitute late in the second half. In the 69th minute, he found himself with the ball inside the Oldham defensive zone, and finished with a nice shot past the Colonel keeper. Three minutes later, Mock struck gold again, placing the ball perfectly and letting it trickle past the Oldham County goalie for the Tiger’s fifth and final goal of the night.
“We’re playing really well and I think its a good sign,” Mock explained. “We’re really stepping up our game a lot. Hopefully we can take this momentum into the tournament.”
Mock stressed the importance of the upcoming district and state tournament, saying “This is four years of work in the making. We don’t want all this work to mean nothing, and this game really set a positive tone.”
St. X plays St. Henry District High School on Saturday to close out regular season play. The Tigers need to keep the same attention and determination they’ve shown in the second half of their season so that they can head in to tournament play with momentum.
Soccer was the main focus Wednesday night, as the St. X and Trinity teams congregated at Brother Thomas More Stadium in a showdown of bitter archrivals. The Shamrocks, who are currently ranked #1 in the state, showed their tremendous skill and experience, as they marched into the Tigers’ house and defeated St. X by a final score of 2-0.
Though the score appears one sided, the game was evenly played by both teams up through the first 65 minutes. The Tigers controlled possession for a major chunk of the first half.
After 11 minutes of play, St. X had their first defensive breakdown, allowing Trinity to find an easy path to the goal. Senior goalkeeper Alex Popovich was not ready to let the Rocks score yet, though, and stopped two point-blank attempts by the Trinity forwards, boosting the Tigers’ on-field adrenaline and energizing the home crowd.
The Tigers pressed Trinity early on, and almost converted on multiple occasions. Klayton Grimes gave a hard shot on goal in the 14th minute, but the ball fell right into the hands of the Trinity keeper. Junior Graham Reynolds later missed an open opportunity in the 17th minute with his bicycle kick attempt.
The score was knotted at 0-0 through the first 40 minutes of action.
“We started playing really well in the second half,” junior midfielder Trent Stigler said. “We finally started getting our flow together.”
Stigler, who has been one of the Tiger’s best scoring assets throughout the season, gave St. X a huge chance in the 43rd minute when he one-timed a shot from far outside the box, hitting the top right crossbar. The Tigers carried the momentum of the game into the 54th minute, where Dean Mock created a fast break. Mock found running room in front of him, but missed the goal with his shot.
Two minutes later, Stigler found Mock’s head on a cross into the box, but the redirected shot nearly missed left of the net.
In the 69th minute, the momentum shifted, as Trinity drew a free kick on the edge of St. X’s box. Trinity forward Greg Fischer shot the free kick towards the top left corner, where the ball floated to the back of the Tiger’s net for the game’s first goal.
“When Fischer hit the free kick, our momentum stopped,” Stigler candidly explained.
“After Trinity got the free kick, we went to three defenders back on defense so we could try to get more offense going,” said senior midfielder and captain Clay Brown. “That may have led to easier opportunities (for Trinity) up top. We just had a mentality that if we were going to go down, we would go down swinging.”
St. X’s strategic hopes did not come to fruition, and the stretched defense allowed Trinity to score again in the 73rd minute, giving the Rocks a 2-0 advantage heading into the final minutes of the match.
After 80 minutes of play elapsed, the Rocks claimed the victory. Although a loss to your rival in front of a rowdy Rage Cage inevitably hurts, the team remains confident that they can step up when it matters.
“Come tournament time, this teams needs to be at its peak,” Brown explained with a hint of urgency. “It can absolutely happen.”
“We need to learn how to come back after a goal,” Stigler asserted. “We can’t keep putting our heads down. We need to find a way to get that win back.”
Next on the Tigers’ agenda is their trip to St. Louis, Missouri, where they will face some of the top high school programs in the nation in the Gateway City Classic tournament. The road trip will surely help St. X in continuing preparation for Regional Tournament time, and it could even result in a few W’s for the squad.