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Goretti turns table on Jefferson

October 08, 2003|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, WVa - After so many close calls, the St. Maria Goretti boys soccer team now knows what the long end of the stick feels like.

Five of the Gaels' seven losses this season have been by just one goal. But Goretti turned the table Tuesday night, weathering a late Jefferson rally for a 4-3 upset victory.

"This was huge," said Gaels coach Mike Long. "We've been in every match this year; we just needed a little kick. We've played better than we played tonight, but we played for the whole match tonight."

Meanwhile the Cougars (4-3-1) seemed like they were just going through the motions. After taking an early 1-0 lead, Jefferson went on cruise control while St. Maria dominated the game.

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"I think the kids came in thinking Goretti wouldn't be much of a challenge," said Cougars coach Doug Hunt. "But Goretti came ready to play, and we didn't."

After watching its deficit grow to 4-1 in the 51st minute, Jefferson finally woke up, and pulled to within 4-3 on a Mike Tiano goal, and penalty kick by Jefferson goal keeper Andrew McKee that just barely eluded Goretti keeper Kevin Brashears.

But the Gaels' defense, sparked by senior Matt Enriquez, kept the Cougars at bay the rest of the way to secure the win.

The Gaels took full advantage of McKee's tendency to play away from the net, scoring a pair of virtually identical goals to claim a 2-1 lead by halftime.

Anthony Aziz lofted the first one over the retreating McKee's head from 40 yards away to tie the score in the 9th minute before Matt Cotleur did the same thing from a somewhat shorter distance in the 30th minute.

"That's partly his style," said Hunt of McKee's propensity to play away from the goal. "Normally he doesn't make the mistakes he made tonight, and Goretti was able to take advantage of them."

The Gaels (4-7) parlayed the momentum gained in the first half into two more goals early in the second half. Aziz made it 3-1 on an assist from Michael Burke before Ben Miljour streaked toward the goal Goretti's fourth goal in the 51st minute.

Goretti's Brashears finished with eight saves, the majority of which came during the Cougars' late-game rally.

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