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2014 Saint Xavier Soccer is in the Books

Senior striker Klayton Grimes chases a ball Thursday night against Trinity. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Senior striker Klayton Grimes chases a ball Thursday night against Trinity. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

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.

St. X Soccer Redeems Themselves Against District Opponent Male

Senior striker Klayton Grimes maneuvers a ball past a Collegiate defender in the District 26 Semifinals. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Senior striker Klayton Grimes maneuvers a ball past a Collegiate defender in the District 26 Semifinals. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

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.

St. X Soccer Defeats Collegiate to Begin Postseason

Junior Tiger goalkeeper Davis George tees off on a kick. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Junior Tiger goalkeeper Davis George tees off on a kick. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

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.”

Tiger Soccer Finishes Strong

St. X Head Coach Andy Schulten | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

St. X Head Coach Andy Schulten | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

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.

St. X Soccer Absorbs Tough Spirit Week Loss

Senior striker Dean Mock makes a leaping attempt to intercept a Trinity pass Wednesday night. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Senior striker Dean Mock makes a leaping attempt to intercept a Trinity pass Wednesday night. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

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.

St. X Soccer Bounces Eastern

Senior striker Dean Mock plays a ball from the corner. |Photo by David Flynn

Senior striker Dean Mock plays a ball from the corner. | Photo by David Flynn

On Monday night the “Who’s your daddy” cheer was heard echoing throughout the stands at St. X, as students dressed up for “Dad night” while cheering on the soccer team as they faced Eastern High School. After losing over the weekend, the Tigers looked to regain a winning touch.

With the help of two new goal scorers, St. X was able to take home a 2-0 win.

In the recent past, St. X has made quick work of the Eastern soccer team, and tonight was no exception.

Right from the start, the Tigers secured control of the ball, and possessed without much disruption from the Eastern defense. Within the first ten minutes, five quality shots had been placed on goal, but the Eagles’ keeper swallowed them up. In the 23rd minute, St. X finally converted on an offensive chance. Senior Dean Mock dribbled through the crowded goalie box, finding an opening on the near right side, and fired a shot past the goalie, giving Mock his first goal of the season and St. X the 1-0 lead.

“It felt magical,” Mock said describing his excitement of putting his first goal in the back of the net. “This opens up a lot of doors for me.”

Unexpected offensive help came from the defense as well. Senior defender Michael Elder carried the ball up the sideline and crossed it through the box multiple times, including a chance that Mock nearly knocked home for a second goal. In the 53rd minute, Senior defender and captain Neal McKiernan ripped a shot to the corner of the net, making the score 2-0.

After McKiernan’s strike, St. X junior goalkeeper Davis George took the game into his own hands. He made an incredible save in the 72nd minute to conserve the two goal advantage and was a solid brick wall for the entire contest.

After 80 minutes had come and gone, the Tigers could rest well with their fourth win in five games.

“We had a rocky start this season,” Mock explained. “But we’re really starting to pick up our game.”

Mock said the key to the Tigers recent surge has been “conversions up top with our offense.”

“I wish we could have scored more goals, but I’m proud that we had no real lapses in our defense,” Mock finished. “Neal’s goal shows how versatile we can be as a team when we’re on our game.”

The St. X soccer team plays again today against Brown High School. The game kicks off early, starting at 5:00. The Tigers look to keep scoring goals as they host another solid in-state opponent.

Tiger Soccer is Ready to Go

Clay Brown will be a force this season for the Tigers. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Clay Brown will be a force this season for the Tigers. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Saint Xavier High School did not take home the soccer state championship last season after capturing back-to-back titles the previous two seasons.

However, that may not necessarily be a bad thing.  This year’s group of Tigers are hungrier than ever to reclaim their spot atop the mountain.

St. X loses 12 seniors from last season’s team, including prolific strikers Joe Workman and Jack Somervell along with a premier goalkeeper in Wes Luvisi.  Although the Tigers lose a lot of talent from graduation, they still have a lot of skill and ability to work with.

“We still have a lot to work on, but we have the potential to make a run in the (state) tournament this year,” says senior striker Klayton Grimes.  “We don’t have any star players.  We are just a solid team.”

It will be up to Grimes and fellow senior striker Dean Mock to replace the production of Workman and Somervell.  Workman led the team in goals during both his junior and senior seasons, and it will be very interesting to see if Mock and Grimes can fill the large shoes of the departed seniors.

The state of affairs in the midfield is perhaps the most exciting part of this year’s Tigers.  Wizard midfielders Bobby Buse and Matt “Kid” Effinger are no longer a part of the squad, but there are plenty of promising Tigers to make up for the losses.  Seniors Zach Vititoe, Clay Brown, Andrew Schaefer, and Austin Goodman will be great, and they will also be aided by juniors Trent Stigler and Colin Kremer.  Stigler and Kremer logged very important minutes on the varsity stage last season as sophomores, and they could be in store for huge third seasons.

The back end of Tiger Soccer should be as impressive as ever.  Luvisi graduates, but the Tigers return another stellar stopper in senior Alex Popovich. Much like it was last season with Luvisi, it will be extremely tough for opponents to get anything past him, as his quick insticts and agility allow him to react to any shot in an instant.

Grimes says that St. X’s depth will help the Tigers a lot, but one thing the team needs to work on is making all the players work in synchronized organization.

“One of our strengths this year will be our numbers.  We have a lot of players who can come off the bench and play,” Grimes explains.  “We still need to work on our communication, though.  The key to making the run (to state) will be leadership.”

Regardless of how much talent a team has at its disposal, it really helps when a strong head coach can anchor the unit.  Luckily for St. X, it has one of the best in Andy Schulten.  He has proven through the years that he is one of the best coaches in America, even winning the National Coach of the Year one season.  The players recognize how important he and top assistant Nathan Durbin are to team success.

“They are vital to the team,” says Grimes.  “They push us everyday in practice and make us better players everyday.”

The Tigers began their season on Tuesday with a 4-1 victory over Christian Academy in a scrimmage.  Brown and Schaefer each put two shots pass the Centurion goalie to fuel St. X.  It wasn’t hard at all to notice Schaefer’s impact on the game; he was a blur, flying everywhere and constantly disrupting CAL’s rhythm.

Brown was happy to be on the field with his teammates for the first time in while.  Like many players and fans, he’s excited for what this season could hold.

“It felt good to be back out there with the team,” Brown says.  “We still have a couple of holes we need to fill to be where we want, but I think we have the right people out there to fill them.”

 

Photo Gallery from CAL Scrimmage