For Jack Quinlan, it’s all in the job description.
Every time the Kellenberg senior striker steps onto the field, he’s determined to put the ball in the back of the net and on Tuesday afternoon that’s exactly what he did. Quinlan recorded the lone goal of the day, scoring on a second-half rebound after Nicholas Arcabasso’s free kick, to lift the Firebirds to a 1-0 victory over St. John the Baptist in a CHSAA matchup.
"[Nicholas] did a great job to put it on frame, I just reacted," Quinlan said. "As a striker, you want to react in the box, and I was lucky to have the ball fall to me...obviously my eyes lit up."
Arcabasso drew the free kick with just under 35 minutes left to play as the Firebirds (4-0-1) came out of halftime with an extra spring in their collective step. Kellenberg missed a handful of early-game opportunities, but Arcabasso said the team didn’t want to waste this one.
And while the senior midfielder said he hoped to be the one to get Kellenberg on the board, he wasn’t too disappointed in the end result.
"I intended to have it go in the goal, but every time Jack Quinlan gets in front of the goal, he scores," Arcabasso said. "I’m not mad about that."
With the second-half lead, Kellenberg locked in on defense, led by senior goalie Theodore Healy. The multiyear starter held strong between the pipes and finished with seven saves, including a pair of close-range looks down the stretch.
"You can’t fold under pressure," Healy said. "Today, defensively we were all in sync. The most important thing is we’re communicating with each other and we’re starting to gel as a team."
St. John the Baptist (2-3) did its best to find the equalizer late, grabbing some of the game’s momentum in the final 10 minutes, but Kellenberg coach William Masiulis credited his squad for its ability to bend without breaking.
It was Kellenberg’s third straight shutout.
"We have a very veteran backfield," Masiulis said. "It’s become a catalyst for us, to give us the confidence to possess and build from the back."
Now, with their confidence on the rise and another victory under their belts, Quinlan called the Firebirds "mentality monsters." This is a team with its eyes on a title, and as far as Kellenberg is concerned, getting there is everyone’s job.
"We’ll never quit in this group," Quinlan said. "It’s a great bunch, and we’ve got one goal at the end of the season and that’s to win the championship."