The Tiger Soccer team went on the road Thursday night to face the third-ranked Oldham County Colonels. The Tigers responded to adversity and came back to get the win after being down 3-1 with 12 minutes remaining. Seniors Trent Stigler and Colin Kremer along with sophomore Lucas Mudd supplied the goals tonight.
The Tigers started off slow against the physical style of the Colonels. Early in the game junior goalie Clayton Allen made a few saves including a spectacular diving save in the 5th minute. The Tigers’ best chance of the first half came when sophomore Bennett Moorman dribbled past the Colonel defender and dropped one off to Stigler. Stigler ripped a shot, but the OC goalie, who played a solid game, saved it with relative ease. A ball finally found its way into the back of the net when the Tigers’ back line had a miscommunication which resulted in an empty net opportunity for the Oldham County forward. The score would remain 1-0 up to halftime. But, if not for a few Clayton Allen saves, the score could have been much worse for the Tigers.
At the beginning of the second half, the Colonels added another goal on a perfectly placed shot. That goal made the score 2-0 in the 46th minute. The Tigers finally got on the board when senior Graham Reynolds drew a penalty. Stigler put it in and brought the Tigers to within one with 24 minutes left in the game. With just over 15 minutes remaining, the Colonels scored once more, putting them ahead 3-1. It looked like the Tigers were out of it when, in the 68th minute, Stigler headed a corner kick in. The Tigers were pressing and trying to get the ball forward when, in the 72nd minute, Kremer, thanks to a Stigler pass, was able to get the shot past the keeper to bring the score to 3-3.
A draw would have been a more than satisfactory result given how the game had started, but in the 76th minute Mudd, thanks to another beautiful pass from Stigler, was able to beat the OC keeper and give the Tigers a 4-3 lead. That would be the score at the final buzzer, and the Tiger’s magnificent comeback was complete.
“This game meant a lot to the entire team,” Mudd said. “We were down 2-0, and we came together, and we got some good goals. We just have to keep it up.”
Stigler, who scored two goals and assisted on the others, credited the comeback to the defense.
“Honestly, it started with our defense. Brett [Hulsmeyer] came in, he played like a man. [Andrew] Schnurr played like a man the whole game,” Stigler said. “The team rallied around the captains and picked our game up in the second half.”
The Tigers came into the game as the lower ranked of the two soccer teams, and for the first 50 minutes it looked like that was the case. In the end, the Tigers were able to orchestrate a comeback, scoring 3 goals in under 8 minutes. And like senior Nick Eimers said after the game, “It’s non-stop from here boys.”
Saint Xavier Soccer is looking good for the 2015 season after having several juniors play meaningful roles on this year’s squad. There’s quite a bit of time before the Tigers will lace up the cleats for a regular season game, but one St. X player has already caught the nation’s attention.
Rising senior midfielder Colin Kremer was named to the 2015 High School All-American Soccer Game watch list. The game will be played on December 6th, 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Kremer was one of five players from Kentucky selected on the West Team watch list, which also included Kremer’s friend and fellow midfielder Greg Fischer of Trinity.
He was upbeat when he found out he was selected for the list, as you could imagine.
“I was pretty excited,” Kremer said. “All the hard work I have been putting in is paying off.”
The game, which is sponsored by Adidas, will feature the East and West’s best 20 players (2 goalkeepers, 6 defenders, 6 midfielders and 6 forwards). Although there is no concrete geographical dividing line that separates the East and West, the selection committee of over twenty members does its best balancing job to have the best players in the nation divided with the most sensible geographic placement as possible.
Kremer is one of about 150 initial candidates across the country selected via ballot by the committee. There will be three more ballots taken throughout the season by the committee to select the final roster for each team. Each ballot will cut the field of candidates to 75, 50 and 40 players, respectively, from the initial 150 player pool. He feels that he has a good shot.
“I certainly think I am pretty close, but I definitely need to prove myself [next season] to solidify myself in that group,” Kremer explained. “If I play like I know I can, I can see myself on that list at the end of the year.”
If Kremer were to make a final roster, he would be the second St. X player ever to play in the game, which started in 2011. Kaelin Fox, who is now playing for the University of Kentucky, was the first Tiger to play in the game when he made the final cut in 2012.
Kremer will be one of multiple key returnees for St. X Head Coach Andy Schulten. Goalie Davis George, forward Graham Reynolds, midfielder Trent Stigler, defender Eric Brangers, and forward Andrew Schnurr all either started or had significant playing time for St. X last season. He likes St. X’s chances to get back to the top next season for the first time since 2012.
“I’m really excited about our team coming in next year,” Kremer said. “We’ll have some really experienced seniors in me, Trent and Davis that can hopefully lead our team into the playoffs. Hopefully [being named an All-American] will come with a state ring, too.”
From everyone here at WSTX Sports, Best of luck Colin!
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.
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.”
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.
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.
On an unusual Tuesday evening, Tiger Soccer took on district opponent Brown High School. The game began at 5:00 PM, a much earlier starting time than St. X is accustomed to.
However, it didn’t seem to phase the Tigers. They banged home 10 goals in 70 minutes to force a mercy-rule decision over the Bears.
The scoring didn’t take off immediately, though, as the halftime score read 2-0 in favor of St. X.
But an eight-goal flurry in the second half put the bears away and allowed the Tigers to go home a little but early.
Junior midfielder Andrew Schnurr and senior defenseman Nick Schrage got the two first half goals, but then junior midfielder Nick Eimers put one in the back of the net in the 44th minute, Matthew Burruss scored in the 48th, Matthew Phelan scored in the 51st, Eric Brangers scored in the 58th, Thomas Doerr scored in the 62nd, Matthieu “Butch” Tapolsky scored in the 63rd, and Connor Sullivan scored in the 66th.
Senior midfielder Austin Goodman put the icing on the cake, pushing one past the Bears’ goalkeeper in the 70th minute to end the contest.
For a team that has largely struggled producing offense this season, it must have felt good to put a 10 on the scoreboard at Brother Thomas More Stadium.
After the game was over, junior midfielder Colin Kremer expressed his pleasure in the final result in a tweet.
St. X is back in action next week, as the Tigers will take on Atherton next Monday at 7:00 PM on their home turf.
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.
Following a night filled with patriotism and St. X spirit, the Tiger Soccer team faced off against Brebeuf Preparatory High School, who traveled down to Brother Thomas More Stadium from Indianapolis. The Tigers had accrued a three-game winning streak following their season turnaround; yet on Saturday, Brebeuf showed why they were nationally ranked, defeating St. X 2-0.
At the onset of the match, St. X passes were crisp and direct. Andrew Schaefer and Klayton Grimes continued their partnered attack on offense, as Schaefer continually played through balls to Grimes. Though the Tigers played a solid first half, they struggled to finish shots on goal, making the game a 0-0 tie going into halftime.
In the 50th minute, St. X found its best offensive chance of the day. Austin Goodman launched a pass over the head of the Brebeuf defenders, leading Andrew Schaefer to a wide open fast break. Schaefer struck the ball well, but just missed the goal. This miss proved to be costly, as Brebeuf was able to counter in the 57th minute with the first goal of the game.
“Once we fell behind by one goal, everyone’s heads immediately lowered,” Tiger Head Coach Andy Schulten explained. “We let them get one step ahead of us, and that’s what gave them the edge.”
Following Brebeuf’s first goal, the Tigers struggled to play with the cohesiveness they had in the first half. In the 69th minute, the Braves scored their second goal off of a cross into the middle, sealing the win. After 80 full minutes of play, St. X lost 2-0, ending the winning streak.
“Don’t get frustrated,” Coach Schulten pleaded to his team. “That was a really good team we just played. We had a couple of decent opportunities in the second half. We just have to put these things away. Its just another learning experience, and a good one to bounce back from.”
The Tigers face in-state opponent Eastern High School on Monday night in an attempt to regain their goal-scoring swagger. Coach Schulten and the Tigers are confident in their ability to defeat the Eagles and get back on track. Game time is set for 7:00 PM.
St. X continued their recent dominance Thursday evening as they defeated Manual 2-0. Confidence has been the key, as the Tigers seem to have found their niche with three consecutive wins.
St. X controlled the tempo early on. The Tigers quickly worked the ball and pushed forward. Through the first 20 minutes, the Tigers utilized the fast pace to make three great scoring opportunities off of senior right back and captain Neal McKiernan’s huge throw-ins. This match, however, was truly run by the St. X juniors. In the 31st minute, midfielder Trent Stigler drew a free kick just outside Manual’s goalie box. Stigler hooked the shot up and around the defender’s wall, placing it in the far left corner of the net for the opening goal of the game.
The Tigers led 1-0 at halftime.
Three minutes into the second half, a Manual player was given a red card, giving the Tigers a 11-10 player advantage for the rest of the match. This proved to be helpful, as St. X continued to push the ball forward with ease. Andrew Schaefer and Klayton Grimes continually created offensive opportunities for the Tigers, and they fought for every ball, not allowing Manual to clear it easily.
In the 70th minute, the Tigers ran the ball up the field. Manual struggled to clear the ball as it bounced around in a frenetic pace. The ball eventually found the St. X wing, and the ball was immediately fed to Colin Kremer. The junior midfielder one touched the pass into the back of the net to give St. X its third straight 2-0 lead.
The Tigers’ unrelenting offensive attack kept the Crimsons’ defense on their toes. Moments after Kremer’s goal, a chipped pass was played over the head of the defender to Klayton Grimes, creating a fast break. Grimes broke free from his defender and found the ball, but hit the shot just wide of the net.
The Tigers were not able to finish any more shots. After 80 full minutes of play, St. X claimed their third victory in a row with the final score of 2-0. The final score could have been even more lopsided, but senior defenseman Nick Schrage was extremely pleased with the effort nonetheless.
“We played really strong up top, finishing hard plays,” Schrage explained. “We really put it to their keeper. Moral down on the field was really boosted throughout the game as the offense continued to work perfectly. We had two juniors put in goals today, which really helped the team out. Overall, it was a solid job.”
After not getting a single goal in four games and 15 days, St. X has now found the back of the net six times in the last three games. With the offense finally comes the results the team is expecting.
Junior goalkeeper Davis George could not be happier that the St. X offense has hit its stride.
“What a game,” George said with a grin. “I’m so glad the offense is finally there. It’s a goalkeeper’s dream, absolutely.”
The Tigers look to continue their winning streak into their next game on Saturday against a tough team from Indiana. Brebeuf Jesuit Prep will make the trip down from Indianapolis to Brother Thomas More Stadium to take on St. X in a contest set for 3:30 PM.
The Saint Xavier Tigers entered a brisk Tuesday evening match coming off of their second win of the season, a 2-0 victory over Greenwood High School in Bowling Green. Senior striker Klayton Grimes led the charge against Greenwood, having scored both of the Tiger’s goals in their monumental win. Heading into their game against Martha Layne Collins High School Titans, St. X looked to keep their newly discovered offensive flow alive.
Klayton Grimes described the Tiger’s play Saturday against Greenwood as “finally getting back on track.” He explained that the victory over Greenwood was a great win, but there is still plenty of work to do.
“This team has not played to their full potential yet. We still have a long way to.”
Tuesday’s match against Collins showed the hidden potential the Tigers possess, as they came out ready to play from the first whistle. The midfielders kept the Collins defenders on their toes, pushing passes through gaps, trying to create fast break chances. In the 6th minute, the Tigers received a free kick on the left outer edge of the goalie box. Juniors Colin Kremer and Trent Stigler ran a perfect trick play, eventually leaving Kremer wide open from straight on. Kremer ripped the shot from the top center of the box, placing it in the right corner of the goal for an early Tiger lead.
The second Tiger goal came in he the 12th minute on a break-away opportunity given to Klayton Grimes. Grimes corralled the ball and flicked it passed the charging Titan goalie, giving the Tigers a quick 2-0 lead over Collins which would last throughout the remainder of the match.
Tuesday’s match was a big step in the right direction for multiple reasons. In the 61st minute, Senior left back Michael Elder entered the game, making his first appearance this season. Elder, having recovered from two meniscus surgeries on his left knee, made a couple of great stops in the defensive zone, reminding us why he is such a vital component to a successful St. X team.
“It felt really good,” Elder said, with a smile on his face, on his season debut. “I finally got to get back to playing my hardest and working with my team.”
Elder and the rest of the Tigers held Collins scoreless for the remaining time in the game, recording their second straight win with a final score of 2-0. After not scoring a single goal in four games (A span of 15 days) earlier in the season, St. X has now found the back of the net four times in their last two games (four days).
“We had good outside wing play,” explained Elder. “We all hustled to everything, which helped us connect with the strikers.”
To Junior Trent Stigler, the overall improvements came from the success with “moving the ball on the ground.”
“We played nice through-balls up to the forwards, and the forwards made nice runs,” Stigler explained.
When asked how the Tigers will continue their winning streak, Stigler responded with a smile, saying frankly, “Score more goals.”
The Tigers now look ahead to their game on Thursday, as they visit Manual in another important game. St. X looks to keep their winning streak alive with a continuation of their smart offensive and defensive play. Gametime is set for 7:30.
Wednesday evening, Saint Xavier Soccer faced the Ballard Bruins, a second opponent in two days. The Tigers fought hard but couldn’t pull out the win, as they once again lost 1-0 in another tight regular season game flush with intensity. After a tough loss against Male Tuesday night, St. X looked to build off of positive plays in the previous district matchup, but could not muster enough offense to win.
Contrary to previous games, the Tigers came out playing sharp from the onset of the game. Accurate passes and a stout defensive effort early on contributed to several scoring oportunites. Early on in the match, Ballard forced an offensive fast break, but Senior George McCracken slid in to poke the ball out of play and smothered a big scoring chance for the Bruins. Moments later in the 17th minute, Clay Brown fired a shot from up above the goalie box. The shot was blocked, but the quality, early shot was an encouraging sign with the recent slow starts the team has had to endure.
The offense got a shot of adrenaline with that sequence.
The ball passed through Ballard’s defensive zone untouched multiple times in the first half. In the 22nd minute, senior midfielder and captain Andrew Schaefer found himself with the ball right in front of the Bruin goalkeeper. Schaefer had a hard time handling the ball, though, and his shot attempt came off weak. The Ballard goalie got a hand on the ball just in time, and the game remained scoreless.
In the 38th minute, The Tigers had a communication breakdown defensively, and Ballard was able to capitalize, making the score 1-0 heading into half time. Just like the night before, the one mistake St. X made came back to haunt them.
A second half team to this point in the season, St. X continued its strong play in the second frame against the Bruins. Neither side was able to grasp control of the second half, however. A sudden surge led by Schaefer in the 42nd minute gave the Tigers one of their best scoring opportunities of the night. He pushed the ball up field, drawing the attention of the defense, and then crossed the ball into the box to a wide open Trent Stigler. The junior midfielder struck the ball well with his head, but the ball was directed just wide of the goal.
In the 45th minute, Senior Goalie Alex Popovich made one of the best string of plays of the night, as he fended away two consecutive point-blank shots on goal. Seconds later, Popovich charged out of the box to stop a Ballard fast break, keeping the score and the Tiger’s hopes intact.
After Popovich’s clutch saves, the Tigers began to ramp up the tempo and move the ball with much more urgency. They made a flurry of trips to the Bruins box, but they were denied each time by senior Ballard goalie Zach Brooks. St. X was not able to create any more legitimate scoring chances in the final minutes of play. As the final whistle blew, St. X trailed 1-0, giving them their fourth consecutive loss.
The Tigers were visibly disgusted after the loss; the post-game team huddle was laced with drooping heads and tears of frustration and disappointment.
Saint Xavier Soccer is an elite program, both in the state of Kentucky and America. Four straight defeats is a lot to swallow for a group of players who are accustomed to playing state-championship level soccer all day, every day. Head Coach Andy Schulten made a statement to the team after the game.
“We’ve got to translate this anger into good practice and execution on the field,” Coach Schulten said with tangible encouragement. “The worst thing we can do is add stress to the mental block we’re experiencing right now. This is nothing we can’t overcome with grit and determination.”
St. X could not be more well-equipped to handle this bout with adversity. With Schulten at the helm, things will start to head in the right direction soon enough. He said he has yet to see “a full 80 minutes from any 11 guys this season.”
“We’re bringing it together,” said senior defenseman George McCracken. “We’re getting better. The defense was solid; we just need to hold the ball up top.”
McCracken did not seem phased by the current slide either, saying, “We’ll be fine. Our biggest weakness is ourselves: What we think, what we do, and our mental capacity. We just need to pick ourselves up instead of putting ourselves down.”
“After each loss, we need to get mad. After each win, we need to get better,” McCracken explained with an emphatic calmness.
Currently, the Tigers have played four consecutive games without putting a ball in the net, and their scoring drought will hit 15 days before St. X will get a shot at snapping the streak.
This coming weekend, the Tigers will make the long drive to Bowling Green to take on the Greenwood High School Gators with hopes of reclaiming the St. X pride and swagger that seems to be missing. Game time is scheduled for 1:45 PM.
On Tuesday evening the St. X Soccer Team lost to Male High School in a close 1-0 match that was filled with missed opportunities and tension on both ends of the field. Male, a team inside of the Tigers district, is an opponent the Tigers had been looking forward to playing for a while, hoping to preserve a perfect record against district foes. Unfortunately, the Tigers did not receive the outcome they wanted, as they fell to the Bulldogs in a hard fought battle.
From the onset of the match, bodies flew everywhere up and down the field, as both teams understood the importance of the district competition. Through the opening 35 minutes, the ball found itself in the deep ends of both sides of the field, but no team was able to finish scoring opportunities.
The Tiger defense “held their ground and really played an overall good game,” said senior defenseman and captain Neal McKiernan. It was just one lapse by the defense that gave the Bulldogs the only goal they would need in the closing seconds of the first half.
The Tigers were down at half, but the game was still in a very manageable position for St. X heading into the second set of 40 minutes. Just as previous games had gone for the Tigers, the team came out of halftime with new energy and focus. Great through-balls began to be played over the heads of the Male defense, giving St. X multiple fast break opportunities. In the 48th minute, the Tigers fed a strong cross through the Male goalie box and it was met with the foot of a Tiger, but the ball trickled just wide of the net, keeping St. X off the board.
More opportunities followed in the 70th minute, including a chance from inside the box from senior midfielder Clay Brown. The captain settled the ball, took a step, and fired the shot, only to miss the goal by inches. Moments later in the 72nd, McKiernan tracked a Tiger cross and redirected it with his head, once again just missing the goal.
The quality of St. X’s play drastically improved in the second half, but the offense couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities.
The game ended in a highly controversial fashion, as the Tigers rushed up the field in the closing seconds, looking for one last opportunity. The ball was hit up into the air, but a Male defenseman hit the ball away with his hand intentionally. The Tigers should have gotten a free kick from a good scoring range, but the Bulldog defender’s act wasted the remaining time in the game. St. X was denied the free kick it deserved, and the game ended with the Tiger sideline in disgusted frustration.
The Tiger offense “really started to create good chances in the box” during the second half, explained McKiernan. “We just couldn’t score on the chances we had.”
“We just need to play a simple game and find the best opportunities for shots on goal,” McKiernan finished. “We sometimes get too excited in the box and end up brushing passes (instead of sticking it in the back of the net).”
The Tigers face Ballard on Wednesday night in their second game in as many days. St. X hopes to continue the effort shown in the second half of the Male game in order to score a victory over the Bruins. Game time is set for 7:00 PM at Ballard.