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Jones leads St. Anthony's "Dog and Pony" show
You might say that St. Anthony's offense is the dog and their defense is the pony.
The Friars have adopted two slogans for the season. One being, "Are you ready to let the dogs out?" A one-liner made famous by the character Alan in the movie "The Hangover." Fitting because when St. Anthony’s offense is unleashed, they attack early and put tremendous pressure on opposing defenses, as seen in their 2-0 win over Kellenberg yesterday in CHSAA.
The other being, "Ride the Pony," which stems from a dance routine the team participates in prior to pre-game warm-ups. Also fitting because if the Friars (12-0-1) are to return to CHSAA supremacy, they will ride a defense that hasn't allowed a goal in seven straight games to get there.
Put the units together, and the dog and pony combine to give coach Dave Prutting what he calls the best team he has had in years.
"The talent level on this team is astronomical," he said. "Put them up against almost any team in the nation and, player for player, they're solid."
Maria Jones broke a scoreless tie with 14:52 remaining in the first half after Steph Paloscio set her up with a pass behind the defense. Jones turned to find nothing between her and keeper Sarah Wacik and angled a shot into the corner of the goal.
Jones later capitalized on a miscommunication between defender and keeper. As both hesitated to clear the ball from in front of the net, Jones charged in and sent a looping header over the outstretched arms of Wacick, who kept Kellenberg (9-2-1) in the game with 12 saves, for a 2-0 lead with 13:15 left.
"To get the second one in was very relieving," Jones said. “It was nerve-racking only being up 1-0 because Kellenberg is a strong team."
Keepers Jensen Wiedmer and Danielle Maurice, who made a leaping save on a free kick by Sandra Morrongiello late in the second half, combined for 10 saves as the defense recorded their ninth shutout of the season.
"We know how to work together in the back," senior defender Ariana Aston said. "We work for every ball and don't let anything behind us."
Earlier yesterday, Prutting's wife presented the team with two stuffed animals, a dog and a pony, reflecting the team’s mottos. The two immediately became part of pre-game rituals and have been named the unofficial mascots of the team. When asked about his wife's gifts, Prutting could only laugh.
"Hopefully," he said, "we ride the pony to the championship."