October 20th, 2011

St. X Takes 6th Region Title

Brad Knoop

Staff Writer

St. X Takes 6th Region Title
photo by Brad Knoop

St. X scores early, downs Male 3-1                           

It took one minute and fifteen seconds for St. Xavier High School’s soccer team to warm up the scoreboard on a chilly October night at Brother Thomas More Page Stadium.

The game was moved to St. Xavier from Iroquois High School due to field conditions following Wednesday’s rain.

Fans were still wrestling with their blankets to keep warm when St. X senior Neil Henley raced down the left sideline with Male High School defenders in pursuit. It looked like an impossible angle to pass, much less get off a shot. But Henley did, scoring the first goal of the Boys’ Sixth Region Soccer Championship. 

“From where I was standing, I have no idea how he made it,” St. Xavier coach Andy Schulten said. “I thought he was out of bounds when he hit it. But he has done from those angles all season.” 

“It was a relief (to score first),” said Henley. “We knew if we did we would be fine.” 

That quick score was the only point on the pitch until 4:46 to go in the first half. Henley again had the honors, taking a pass from senior Gabe Stewart and booting it with his left foot. It carried and hooked into the top left side of the goal for a 2-0 edge. 

The Tigers dominated the match. At 29:41, Henley took a nice pass from junior Adam Kirsch and kicked it through the goal for his third of the night. 

About a minute later, the Tigers gave Male a little help. A handball penalty set up a kick for the Bulldogs. Male freshman Amar Sejdic kicked the ball through for the point and St. X’s lead was 3-1. 

That capped the scoring as St. Xavier played smart and patiently to beat Male for the third time this season. In doing so, the Tigers capture their sixth straight 6th Region title. 

The Tigers (23-1) look ahead to the state tournament. St. Xavier will visit Oldham County High School (15-6-4) Monday night at 7pm.  

“We played them earlier this year,” said Schulten. “It is going to be a good challenge for us, they play a good style. They are playing really well right now.” 

Schulten also knows once you get this far in the season, every opponent will be tough.  

“We are really focusing on preparation and working on putting our best team on the field,” he said.  Everybody should be playing at the peak of their game right now. 

Three Tigers were named to the Sixth Region All-Tournament team. Seniors Neil Henley, Danny Belza and Drew Hillebrand.


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