Chaminade beats St. Anthony's for soccer title
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It took two overtimes and penalty kicks for Chaminade to emerge as the NSCHSAA boys soccer champion Wednesday night.
No. 2 Chaminade defeated No. 1 St. Anthony's 4-2 on the penalties in the final at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
One goal appeared as if it could be the difference. St. Anthony's and Chaminade played 180 minutes of soccer in the regular season and neither team scored.
So when Brendan Reardon scored for St. Anthony's with 5:52 left in regulation it looked as if it was over. Chaminade's Kyle Walsh made sure it wasn't. Walsh, a senior, scored the first goal of his career with 54 seconds left in regulation for Chaminade to send the game to two 10-minute overtimes, where there was no further scoring.
It is the second championship in three seasons for Chaminade (12-3-5). St. Anthony's (15-3-2) lost to a league opponent for the first time this season. Chaminade will play Molloy in the state CHSAA semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. John's University.
"At times I thought it was over," Walsh said. "I almost put my head down. We all stepped forward and the ball came across to me. My first goal came at the right time. It was the most amazing thing that could have happened."
Said Chaminade goalkeeper Brian Westerman of Walsh: "He's the biggest unsung hero on this team. He keeps this team together."
In the penalty shootout, Ethan Ellsworth scored to put Chaminade ahead 1-0 and Nicholas Cestaro tied it for St. Anthony's.
James Brady scored for Chaminade to make it 2-1 and Westerman followed with a diving save. George Roumeliotis made it 3-1 before Reardon brought the Friars within 3-2. On the fifth penalty kick for Chaminade, Hunter Frey scored to win it.
Westerman, who won game MVP, made two saves of penalty kicks. Westerman watched St. Anthony's on Saturday in the semifinals when it beat St. John the Baptist on penalty kicks.
"I took note of all their penalty kickers," he said. "It definitely helped. That was the best game I ever played in my life."
For a good portion of the game it was about missed opportunities. Chaminade had the chance to take the lead on a penalty kick in the 55th minute and hit the crossbar. St. Anthony's had a great chance five minutes later and hit the post. The Friars had a point-blank look with 23:01 left in regulation and Westerman made the save for Chaminade.
When Walsh got his chance, he converted. "I didn't score a goal in two years on varsity," Walsh said. "I can't believe it came in this game. They don't give up a lot of goals. To come here is the best feeling."
Said Chaminade coach Mike Gallagher: "He was in the right place at the right time. There's nothing better than that. We rely on him for possession and to keep the ball moving. If you would have given me a list of names Kyle might have been the last guy. It was a brilliant finish. Can't write a better script then that."