St. Anthony's earns 17th shutout of season

St. Anthony's goalie Josh Weiss, left, gets congratulated St. Anthony's goalie Josh Weiss, left, gets congratulated by Sal Gualtieri after their team's 3-0 win over host Chaminade. (Oct. 24, 2013) Photo Credit: James Escher

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Just how good a regular season did St. Anthony's boys soccer team have?

Let this sink in: The Friars set a school record with their 17th shutout of the season Thursday in a 3-0 win over host and defending CHSAA champion Chaminade in the final regular-season game for both. The previous record was set in 2004, according to assistant coach Don Corrao.

The CHSAA playoffs start Tuesday. Both teams advanced, but matchups have not been determined.

The Friars (12-0) scored 49 goals and allowed only one in league play. Counting eight non-league games, the Friars (18-1-1) scored 64 goals and allowed three.

"I was a little nervous coming in because of the record; I'm not going to lie,'' said goalkeeper Josh Weiss, who made seven saves. "But with the defense playing well, and after I made a couple of saves, I felt fine.''

What helped ease the nerves was TJ Butzke's unassisted goal from about 15 yards with seven minutes left in the first half.

Butzke said his size -- he joked that he's 4-feet-6 with heels on -- helps him to get away from defenders. "I'm short, lower to the ground and quicker than other guys,'' Butzke said. "When they take one step, I go right around them.''

Ethan Ellsworth nearly tied the score for Chaminade (7-3-2) in the first minute of the second half, but Weiss made a pretty save.

Corrao, standing on the sideline near midfield 10 minutes into the second half, instructed midfielder Quinton Volpe to "make something happen for himself.'' Minutes later, Volpe did as told when he scored the Friars' second goal off an assist from Butzke with 38:38 to play.

Jake Giuffrida scored three minutes later, right near the crease off an assist from Michaelangelo Sini, to make it 3-0.

Throughout the game, the defense, led by Beau Hornberger, Dakota Lohan and captain Nick Cestaro, shined with critical clears and tenacious tackling.

"Definitely one of the goals for this game was to get the 17th shutout,'' Cestaro said.

Gene Buonaiuto, who said he has coached the Friars since 1985, was asked if this year's team is his best.

Buonaiuto paused for a couple of moments, then said, "We'll see at the end of the playoffs. It's all how you finish, but this team is in the running.''

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