St. Anthony's, Chaminade play to 0-0 tie
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There wasn't anything substantial on the line in terms of standings or playoff seeding between Chaminade and St. Anthony's Thursday night. St. Anthony's already clinched the CHSAA boys soccer title and Chaminade was locked in as the No. 2 seed.
It didn't matter. The rivalry is so big that bragging rights were enough for both teams to play as if it were a postseason game. Since 2003, either St. Anthony's or Chaminade won the CHSAA championship each season until St. John the Baptist won last year.
With two teams that play tactically smart, are well-coached and rarely suffer breakdowns defensively, the result was no surprise as host St. Anthony's and Chaminade played to a 0-0 tie after 90 minutes of regulation play. The teams met on Sept. 8 and also played to a scoreless tie. The CHSAA does not play overtime in the regular season.
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"It mattered to us," St. Anthony's defender Mark Jecewiz said. "We didn't want to take it easy at all. We wanted to stay undefeated in the league. It's just good defense on both sides. Both teams are so compact in the back. A shutout is important. That one goal can be the deciding factor."
Top-seeded St, Anthony's (14-2-2, 10-0-2) will host defending champion No. 4 St. John the Baptist at 7 p.m. Tuesday and No. 2 Chaminade (10-3-5, 8-0-4) will host No. 3 Kellenberg at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals.
St. Anthony's hasn't lost a regular-season league game since 2009. The best chance for St. Anthony's came when Brendan Reardon fed a perfect pass to Brian Martinez, who blasted a shot that went off the crossbar with 32:48 left in the game.
St. Anthony's put the pressure on in the first 11 minutes, but Chaminade goalkeeper Brian Westerman made two of his three saves. Chaminade had a great scoring opportunity with 8:17 left in the first half, but St. Anthony's goalkeeper Conor McElhinney (five saves) made a diving save.
"We are just so competitive with each other," Chaminade midfielder Kevin Mercadante said. "We are so evenly matched. Obviously, St. Anthony's and Chaminade is a big-time game. We want to win no matter what the game means."