The way Kapaun soccer coach Anthony Cantele sees it, there are plenty of times when a ball should find the back of the net on a shot and it doesn’t.
So he wasn’t going to apologize for the own goal the Crusaders scored late in the first half of their 3-1 victory Thursday at North as Kapaun secured a share of the City League title.
Senior midfielder Garrett Goodson sent in a low corner kick that a North defender attempted to clear. Instead, it chipped over Redskins goalkeeper Matt Casey and into the net to drain momentum North had seized with a goal 43 seconds earlier.
“That was a little bit of a saving grace in a way,” Cantele said. “I thought we had one or two pretty good chances besides that.
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“It was a lucky goal in a lot of ways, but we were due one.”
Combined with solid second-half defense, Kapaun (12-3-1, 7-1 City League) got the victory it needed to tie Bishop Carroll (12-1-3, 6-0-2) atop the final regular-season league standings. Carroll defeated Kapaun 2-0 in the season opener, but the teams matched each other with 14 points in league games in which two points were awarded for a victory and one for a tie.
“We’ll take it,” Kapaun senior Thomas Wells said.
Wells played a key role in Thursday’s victory. He scored the first goal 13 minutes into the match off a throw-in from Goodson, then sent a crossing pass from the right side to sophomore Jack Barrier, who redirected it past Casey for a 2-0 lead in the 24th minute.
“We just wanted to keep them on their half as much as possible,” Wells said of the first half, during which Kapaun had a strong north wind behind it. “We didn’t want to have a lot of pressure on our defense, but they did a good job of passing it.”
North (12-3-1, 5-2-1) was energized by junior Jacob Dominguez’s goal with 1:52 remaining in the first half. Dominguez took a short pass from Doron Boyd and rifled it into the right half of the net.
But before the Redskins could get to intermission, their enthusiasm was diminished by the own goal that accounted for the match’s final tally.
“We were building momentum,” North coach Curt Wullschleger said. “It was an evenly matched game all the way through.
“That own goal was tough to come back from, but I thought the boys showed really good character and heart and perseverance.”
In addition to being league co-champions, Kapaun also solidified a No. 2 seed in next week’s Class 5A regional.
“The boys knew those two things were at stake and then it was North’s senior night, so they were going to be extra juiced,” Cantele said. “It means a lot and I’m proud of the kids for getting the job done.”
First half: Kapaun, Wells (Goodson); Kapaun, Barrier (Wells); North, Dominguez (Boyd); Kapaun, own goal. Shots: Kapaun 6-3–9, North 4-1–5. Saves: Kapaun, Chessmore 2-0–2; North, Casey 2-1–3.