Adam Jankowski ‘15
It was a cold fall night as the Eagles took the field in their second playoff match of the year on Wednesday against Normandy High School. The Eagles would be in for a battle, as Normandy was the 3rd ranked team in the region.
The Eagles took control early. They were on the attack for almost the entire first 15 minutes of the game. After numerous shots on goal, the Eagles capitalized. After a deflected shot by the goalie, Tyler Hrush ’15 headed and the ball slipped into the back of the net in the 11th minute. After many more attacks by the Eagles, and a few minor threats from Normandy, the Eagles held the 1-0 lead into halftime.
At the whistle to signal the second half, things began to change. The game became a lot more physical as Normandy was fighting for their lives and St. Eds was trying to keep this lead in order to advance to the regional finals. Though the Eagles had possession for most of the half yet again, Normandy started to penetrate the defense a little more. Sure enough, almost immediately at the start of the half, Normandy struck back. In the 52nd minute, Normandy slipped one past Alex Dudley ’17 and the Eagle defense to score the equalizer. This seemed to give Normandy a lot of energy and a new sense of confidence. After the goal, they began to have more possession and thwarted a lot of the attacks the Eagles attempted to build.
With about 8 minutes left in the game, the Eagles dodged a bullet as the ball bounced around the front of the goal. The Normandy side thought they scored, but a heroic effort by Julian Castro ’15 kept the ball out of the goal. The score would remain tied at the end of regulation and they would head into extra time.
At the beginning of the first half of the golden goal extra time, the ball stayed in the midfield as neither team was able to get any real chance at breaking the tie and advancing. As the half continued, the action increased. The Eagle defense stayed strong, not letting Normandy score. Near the end of the first half, the Eagles pulled off an incredible run. The Eagles brought the ball down the field. Julian Castro ’15 got a pass, made a great touch off his chest, and ripped the ball into the back left corner of the net from about 15 yards out. The Eagle student section stormed the field before either team could even get off of the field.
With the win, the Eagles advance to the Regional Final. They will play the always tough St. Ignatius Wildcats at Cleveland State University at 7 o’clock on Saturday night. The theme is Halloween costumes so be prepared to be loud and cheer your lungs out in your best costume for the Eagle soccer team as they try to advance to the state semi-final for the third year in a row.