OLATHE – Bishop Carroll’s youth couldn’t match the experience and tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas’ boys soccer team on Friday night.
Aquinas, boasting 12 seniors and defending a state title, topped the Golden Eagles 3-0 in the semifinals of the Class 5A tournament at the College Boulevard Activity Center.
Andover dropped the night’s other semifinal, succumbing to a pair of goals less than a minute apart in a 2-0 loss to Kansas City Harmon.
The Eagles (12-4-4) and Trojans (16-3-1) will square off for third place at noon Saturday before Aquinas and Harmon tussle for the title. Aquinas is looking for its 16th state crown.
“I’ve been trying to stress to the kids to look at the bigger picture,” Carroll coach Mike Skaggs said. “The fourth-place team just gets a medal. The third-place team gets a trophy, too, and our program has never had one. There’s still a lot to play for.”
In the night’s second semifinal, Andover kept Harmon’s offensive attack in check for all but 32 seconds of the game. The Trojans stayed back in the first half and accomplished coach Chris Lemons’ goal of getting the game to halftime scoreless.
But after a handful of nice saves from Bryce Kinsey to begin the second half, Harmon’s Giovanni Calderon rebounded his own shot and punched home a goal. Just 32 seconds later, Calderon lofted an arcing shot over Kinsey’s head on a breakaway to make it 2-0.
“I always tell the kids that most goals are scored either in the first five minutes, the last five minutes or the five minutes right after another goal,” Lemons said. “I think after that first goal went in, we lost our focus just a little bit.
“But outside of those 40 seconds or so, we played great defensively. We weathered a storm in the first half and started the second half well, their awesome attack just broke through on us.”
Carroll found itself in an early hole in the first semifinal. The Eagles thwarted a handful of Saints scoring attempts before Luke Kutey found the net off an assist from Pedro Arias in the 15th minute.
Carroll kept the deficit at one heading into halftime, but Aquinas struck quickly in the second half. Cole Younger scored in the 44th minute to make it 2-0 before Joseph Skevington capped the scoring with a rocket in the 79th minute.
“They’re a great program,” Skaggs said of Aquinas. “They execute their set pieces like nobody can defend. I felt like we played with them for a lot of the night, we just couldn’t get into their defensive third.”
Aquinas outshot Carroll 16-3 and had five shots on goal to the Eagles’ one.