Chaminade's bid for a second CHSAA state boys soccer championship in three years fell short Sunday at St. John's University, as missed opportunities and two defensive breakdowns hurt them in a 2-1 loss to Canisius.
Austin Zaepfel won the game for the Crusaders less than two minutes into the second overtime after his shot from about 15 yards to beat the goalkeeper.
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The Flyers struggled to convert their many chances. "We had enough opportunities to put it away in the second half and the first overtime," Chaminade coach Mike Gallagher said. "In this game, it tends to come back and bite you when you miss your opportunities."
In the first OT, Chaminade failed to score on four tries, all within three minutes of each other. John Leva had a very good look from in close in the 83rd minute, sending a shot that appeared destined for the top shelf but it grazed the crossbar and missed. Less than a minute later, he hooked a shot from the left side that went wide by less than a foot.
In the 85th minute, Leva's header sailed high to the chagrin of Gallagher. "The head ball by Leva, I thought that was a goal and I'm sure Johnny did, too," Gallagher said.
Kyle Walsh concluded the flurry with a straightaway shot that he blasted directly at Canisius keeper Paul Burich, who made the save.
Kevin Armstrong scored in the eighth minute off a short pass by Zaepfel that gave Canisius a lead it clung to until the 65th minute, when Chaminade finally caught a break. A second-half adjustment that Gallagher made to increase pressure on the Crusaders' ballhandlers paid off in the form of a handball in the box that led to a penalty kick for Hunter Frey that tied the game.
Chaminade had turned the momentum of the game before that, and sent a barrage of shots at Burich, but could not seal the deal, eventually leading to Zaepfel's deciding goal.
"We played a high-quality opponent and I just loved the way our kids dug in and stuck their nose in on every tackle," Canisius coach Sam Belsito said. "They hung tight all night in a back-and-forth game and all I kept telling them was to stick with the plan."
Gallagher lamented the missed chances but was far from disappointed in the season the Flyers had. "Opportunities are so few and far between in this game, so of course it hurts. But I'm happy with this group and how far we got and it's unfortunate but congratulations to the champions."