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Goalkeeper Yanni Rigos saves Chaminade

Chaminade goalie Yanni Rigos keeps his eyes on

Chaminade goalie Yanni Rigos keeps his eyes on the action during the second half of a CHSAA varsity boys soccer game versus host St. Anthony's on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. Credit: James Escher

The Chaminade boys soccer team entered this season with three goalkeepers. One sprained his thumb. The second injured his foot. The third has a lingering wrist issue.

"I really needed a healthy goalkeeper,'' coach Michael Gallagher said Tuesday night.

Enter sophomore Yanni Rigos.

Two weeks ago, Rigos was on the junior varsity. On Tuesday night, Rigos was the star of an intense rematch of last season's CHSAA final.

In only his third varsity start, Rigos made 17 saves as Chaminade defeated host St. Anthony's, 1-0, in front of a large crowd at Cy Donnelly Field.

"I wasn't intimidated,'' Rigos said. "Maybe a little, at the start with the crowd and everything, but I came out and did what I had to do.''

That meant making 10 saves in the second half and shutting out a St. Anthony's team that averaged 4.14 goals through its first seven games and hadn't lost since Sept. 7, 2013.

"I've been playing with older kids my whole life,'' Rigos said, "so I've come up with this intensity and this pace of the game and have always coped with it.''

The Flyers (4-0) gave Rigos his only breathing room when they scored seven minutes into the match on a weird play.

It started when Chaminade's Giuseppe LoMonaco launched a free kick from midfield. The ball found Brian Moran, who kicked it straight up into the air while positioned near the net. The ball took an odd bounce, landing between Moran and the net. Moran dashed toward the ball, beat one defender and cashed in before crashing into the net.

"I had to bust after that ball,'' Moran said. "I just said to myself that I got to put this in for my team.''

The play of Rigos and Chaminade's defense made the goal stand. Rigos' biggest save occurred with 30 minutes left.

That was when TJ Butzke's penalty kick hit the crossbar. Rigos held his position. The ball caromed right back to Butzke, who without hesitation attempted another shot from point-blank range. Rigos ranged to his right and robbed him with a kick save.

"My heart was pounding,'' Rigos said. "All I knew was I did something great there.''

Chaminade, led by LoMonaco, clogged the midfield and disrupted the passing game of the Friars (3-1). Still, the Friars fired several shots and had plenty of opportunities with about 15 minutes left. But Chaminade's only healthy goalie these days made sure they couldn't cash in.

"We put a lot of weight on Yanni's shoulders tonight,'' Gallagher said, "and he delivered.''

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