Every season St. Anthony’s schedules boys soccer games against top teams in other regions to provide an extra challenge. This year, the Friars passed their test with flying colors.
St. Anthony’s cemented itself on the national scene with results against three top drawer FAB 50 teams in the past week — a 1-0 win over No. 23 La Salle Academy, a 3-3 draw with No. 12 Calvert Hall and a 2-0 win against No. 15 Archbishop Curley. The draw came in dramatic fashion after the Friars netted three goals in the last four minutes of regulation.
“With like five minutes left, I thought it was over, but once we got that first goal it was like ‘We could probably do this,’ ” Giancarlo Franco said.
The Friars emerged from the stretch banged up, but with a 6-1-2 overall record along with its 3-0 CHSAA mark. Five players scored the six goals over the three-game period. More importantly to assistant coach Don Corrao, they have a game they’ll remember for a long time.
“The resiliency of the kids was magnificent,” Corrao said. “You take these trips in part to play good competition, but you’re also doing it so your team comes together in a different way.”
While returning to Long Island with injuries might lead to a team letting up, St. Anthony’s took a day off and came back to practice with another top game ahead, this time in a local setting: It’s rivalry week against Chaminade.
“You name the team, I don’t care where it is in the country, there is no bigger rivalry than St. Anthony’s-Chaminade. I don’t care what it is, tiddlywinks,” Corrao said.
The Flyers, who won last year’s CHSAA championship behind now-senior Matt Vowinkel, pulled off their own top 50 win, 2-1, over No. 6 Delbarton on Saturday.
“They took something for us last year that we really worked hard for and now we want that back,” Franco said.
St. Anthony’s could re-enter the top 50 in Tuesday’s rankings update. It was last listed at No. 18 on Sept. 6.