November 4th, 2017

St. X soccer wins first state title in five years

Block_0 conor revell

Conor Revell

Staff Writer


St. X soccer wins first state title in five years
St. X with the state championship trophy / photo by Conor Revell

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Head coach Andy Schulten finally has St. Xavier back on top of the high school soccer world.

The Tigers defeated defending state champion Daviess County 3-0 in the 2017 KHSAA state championship game Saturday night at Lafayette High to win their ninth state championship since 2000, but first in five years.

“Persistence allowed us to get back on top,” Schulten said. “The last couple of years we have had some key injuries at some inopportune times that have taken some key players out during tournament time. We lost on penalty kicks one year and overtime another year. But we’re not making excuses for that.

“This year we happened to have a very healthy team. We rotated around 50 players this season to make sure we had fresh legs. And, we’re still a beat up team. Michael Hagerty is the Kentucky Defensive Player of the Year and could barely walk after the last game. These guys stuck it out when times got tough. I’m just happy for them.”

St. X (23-3-2) has won 13 soccer state titles in school history, more than any other program in the state of Kentucky.

“Coming into St. X as a freshman, I knew that we had a very special team,” St. X senior goalkeeper Haydon Korfhage said. “Our goal was to win state. But I didn’t know if that would happen because I didn’t know good the other teams were going to be. This is an awesome memory and I’m glad to have won one with my boys. I can say I won my last high school game.”

It was the second time these two teams had met this season, the Tigers won the regular season matchup 6-1 back in August.

Case Cox and Conner George both had a goal and an assist for St. X while Wyatt Goodin had the other goal.

“It means everything to win this game,” Cox said. “At the start of the season our goal was to bring the program back and we knew we had the team to do it. I have to give credit to the senior class. The reason why me and the other juniors were the goalscorers was because we had a group of great senior leaders. They led us to this point and back.”

George was named Most Valuable Player of the State Tournament.

“What I saw best from Conner especially during tournament play was that he was looking for teammates,” Schulten said. “He would build up the play, win the ball, and laying it off the teammate. He setup five or six goals but they’ll never show up in the statistics. He would open up the defense. He didn’t do that at the beginning of the season.What he would is head straight to the goal.”

Goodin gave St. X a 1-0 lead when he scored off a pass from George with 25:06 to play in the first half.

“It was an awesome feeling to score,” Goodin said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was completely shocked because these are kind of things that happen in your dreams when you’re a defender.”

It was only Goodin’s second goal of the season.

“Wyatt drops in the back so he doesn’t get a whole lot of statistics or press,” Schulten said. “What a great goal. We have some dangerous back with him and Sam Reid. He got involved in the attack, Conner (George) saw him, shot it right across to him, and it was a perfect shot. I could see right at the angle that it was going in.”

George made it 2-0 scoring off a Cox assist just less than 10 minutes into the second half.

“Case was being Case dribbling down the line, it was awesome” George said. “He gave me the ball, I took a touch, and put it past the goalkeeper.”

Cox iced the game with an unassisted goal to put Daviess County (21-4-2) in a 3-0 hole with 28:15 remaining.

“Conner (George) took a shot and it hit the post,” Cox said. “I knew my job was to take a shot if it was a deflection. When it popped out to me I put it away with my right foot.”

St. X dominated most of the game firing 17 shots at Daviess County goalkeeper Michael Haynes who made four saves.

Daviess County peppered Korfhage with nine shots who made two saves.

“We knew that they were going to be a very different team from what we played at the beginning of the year,” Korfhage said. “They had a good attack and came out firing. They were very compact so we found room because it’s a wide field and we play well on wide fields. At halftime, we knew we had a couple of goals in us and we worked hard to get those goals. We knew we had it won when it was 3-0 in the second half.”

The Tigers finished the season on a 12 game winning streak, went 16-0-1 in their final 17 games, and didn’t lose to an in-state opponent. Their tie with Trinity on Sep. 27 was the only non in-state win.

“We play our whole season trying to get our system ingrained into our kids,” Schulten said. “After the Trinity game we sort of turn the corner. That’s the last game for learning purposes. After that, it’s about winning. The big change we made was that we moved Case Cox to the right wing from the left wing and then we isolate him. Most coaches like to put their best player in the middle, I like to have him on the wing because he has room to run.”

Look out for the Tigers again next season, all of Saturday night’s scorers were only juniors, and could very well be on the prowl to repeat come next fall.


 

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