By Dylan Butler
Despite completely dominating play, the St. John’s boys soccer team had little to show after 80 minutes of regulation other than a few close calls. It was a little colder and darker at McClancy Monday, but the score hadn’t changed since kickoff.
But then, almost by design, the Red Storm broke through for two goals in a six-minute span and added an insurance tally in the second 10-minute overtime period as St. John’s defeated Moore Catholic 3-0 to win the CHSAA B city championship. It was the Red Storm’s first city crown since 1994.
“We just couldn’t buy a goal today,” said St. John’s co-head coach Christine Mayer. “We just couldn’t finish. The past couple of games that’s been the underlying theme. But as soon as we got one, the rest just fell into place.”
Playing with their back to or into a tough, swirling wind that gusted to 40 mph didn’t matter to the Red Storm. Their game plan remained the same; attack the Mustangs defensive third.
The Red Storm did just that, relentlessly pressuring Moore Catholic. But when it came down to getting a quality shot off in the box, St. John’s (11-3-1) struggled, as the Mustangs played with nine to 10 players behind the ball at times.
“It was a tough game, most of their team was inside the area which made it hard to get a clear view of the goal,” said St. John’s sophomore Ferney Ruiz. “But in overtime we started to move the ball better, quicker and we got more opportunities.”
It appeared Moore Catholic (11-10) was content to defend in hopes of holding off the Red Storm until the penalty kick shootout — the Mustangs defeated defending city B champion McClancy, 3-2 in penalty kicks in the semifinals — but Ruiz and fellow sophomore Sebastin Garcia had other plans.
Two minutes into the first of two 10-minute overtime periods, Garcia made a great run through midfield and slotted the ball to Ruiz, who found himself open inside the box. Ruiz chipped the ball past Moore Catholic keeper Paul Kosinski, who charged off his line in an attempt to grab the ball, to put St. John’s ahead, 1-0.
“He is pretty fast and he can dribble,” Ruiz said of Garcia, who also on the same club soccer team, appropriately called the Red Storm Arrows. “He’s a great passer too.”
St. John’s Prep capitalized on a man advantage following a red card issued to the Mustangs in the 84th minute, as Garcia dribbled into the box and beat Kosinski low from 16-yards out to give the Red Storm a 2-0 lead in the 88th minute.
Five minutes into the second overtime period, Garcia scored his team-leading 18th goal of the year when he put the ball past Kosinski, who misread the ball, low from 22 yards out to cap the Red Storm’s scoring.
“I feel really happy, especially when the crowd started screaming,” Garcia said. “To score two goals almost at the end is pretty cool.”
While the Red Storm controlled possession, Moore Catholic almost stole the city championship with 10 minutes left in regulation on a rare venture into the St. John’s defensive third.
Red Storm keeper Chris Clarke raced off his line to go after a loose ball in the box, but Moore Catholic’s Joseph Deliso beat him to the ball, chipping it towards the wide open net. But the ball skipped just inches wide of the far post as the nearly frozen partisan home crowd breathed a sigh of relief.
While it has been seven years since the last city championship, St. John’s has a good chance to repeat the feat with the nucleus of this team is returning next year.
“This is a different team than last year. A group of them have played club ball together since they were young and they just jelled with the rest of the team,” Mayer said. “They’re very skilled, but they’re also good kids.”
Moore Catholic 3, McClancy 2. After Adam Brunengo tied the game two minutes into the second half, Miguel Sandoval gave the Crusaders a 2-1 lead 11 minutes later. But Joe Deliso scored his second goal of the game midway through the half to force overtime. With a 3-1 lead in the penalty kick shootout, Kosinski stopped Julian Escobar to clinch the win for the Mavericks.
St. John’s Prep 2, Christ the King 1. Ruiz netted the game-winner with nine minutes left in Thursday’s semifinal at the Metropolitan Oval. David Osorno scored the game’s first goal in the 25th minute as the Red Storm jumped ahead, 1-0.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.