Wednesday night the St. Rita Mustangs Soccer team faced off against Evergreen Park in the opening round of the state playoffs and came out victorious on the back of a Ray Schick goal and a Nick Goldsmith shutout.
The Mustangs controlled the game from the start of the whistle dominating possession the entire match. The Mustangs attacked early getting numerous shots on goal with no luck of scoring. Finally, junior, Ray Schick broke through to give the Mustangs a 1-0 advantage and that is how the game would end. The Mustangs had other scoring opportunities, however, two goals were called back because of offside penalties on St. Rita. This is one of the best games the team has put together all year and it can be contributed to the fact that members are the team are finally getting healthy. “ It helps we are getting healthy at the right time,” Co-Head Coach Tim McCarthy stated. “We got Marty Carlson back after being out 6 weeks with a sprained knee and Ian Koman looks to be cleared from his concussion for Saturday. Having these types of players back makes us a dangerous team.”
In the net for St. Rita was junior, Nick Goldsmith who recorded his second shutout of the season and the 16th of his career. Before the match Nick was asked whether he likes to play in the rain, he said simply with a smile “Yes!”. The weather played a factor in the game but the coaches felt the team handled it great. “”We played very well tonight,” Co-Head Coach Bob Kellam stated. “It’s tough to play in these conditions with so much on the line. It required a high level of concentration and mental toughness which will be key if we plan on beating St. Laurence.”
With the win the team advances to the Regional Championship to take on St. Laurence at 6:00pm this Saturday. This marks the second straight year the team has advanced to the Regional Championship.
That mental toughness and concentration showed up with the Mustangs Saturday night as they tried to capture the Regional Championship. The game would prove to be a trying effort for both teams as they went back and forth for the entire match. Unfortunately in the end the Mustangs would fall 2-1 with the lone goal coming from Marty Carlson. The loss knocked the team out of the state playoffs but Co-Head Coach Bob Kellam is not upset how his team played. “This was one of the best efforts we had all year,” Kellam stated. “The team played great, we had some chances that didn’t fall but that is soccer. These guys can be disappointed that they did not win, that is fine, we all are. But they cannot be disappointed in how they played, they played great.”
The team will have to say good bye to a number of seniors, many who have played significant roles in the program. Co-Head Coach Tim McCarthy believes that is sometimes the hardest part of losing the last game. “Sure everyone is upset we didn’t win a championship, but most upsetting is saying good bye to these seniors,” said McCarthy. “This was a special group and they did a lot for this program. They will be missed.”