With rain pounding their home turf, St. Anthony’s found a way to tip the scales and change the pace of their CHSAA boys soccer semifinal game against Kellenberg Thursday evening. The first half had been mainly even — a few rushes here, a few rushes there — but that all changed during the final 45 minutes.
The Friars were dominant — plain and simple — in the second half. St. Anthony’s spent most of the final 45 on the attack, got the goals to show for it, and walked away 4-0 winners.
The Friars (7-1-1) advanced to the title game to try to defend their title, scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday at St. Anthony’s. They will play the winner of last night’s semifinal between Chaminade and St. John the Baptist match.
Tristan O’Rourke scored twice and goalkeeper Christian Micheli made five saves.
"We came out a lot harder," Rohan Douglas said of the second half. "We were pressing them, making more passes, better runs. We just played better as a team."
Added O’Rourke: "We were much calmer on and off the ball…We kept it more on the ground. Our passes, through balls, and everything all around all came into tune."
Douglas’ goal three minutes into the second half got St. Anthony’s on the board and they never looked back
"Sean [Louis] was at the edge of the box, kicked the shot, the keeper pushed it outside and I just tapped it in," Douglas said. "It was wet and he couldn’t really hold it. So, it was an easy goal for me."
The goal stopped a stalemate and opened the floodgates.
"It just clicked that we were in this and it was our game to win," Douglas said. "It was the turning point in the game."
It seemed as if the harder the rain fell, the better St. Anthony’s played. A heavy mist in the first half turned into a steady stream in the second.
"For us, it was just keeping the ball on the ground and playing smart," O’Rourke said. "In the first half, more of our balls were in the air. In the second half, we played the ball much more on the ground and that helped a lot."
St. Anthony’s took a 2-0 lead with 25 minutes left in the game after a Kellenberg own goal. O’Rourke said there was a palpable momentum shift once the lead doubled.
"Things just changed for us," O’Rourke said. "We all got hyped up and much more confident on the ball. That helped us score more goals after that."
More specifically, it helped him score more goals. O’Rourke pushed the lead to 3-0 after he headed in a goal from the left side of the net with 19:20 left.
"Logan D’Aoust got the ball on the right side, and I saw him start to wind up and go to cross the ball, so I started to advance and run to the box," O’Rourke said. "The ball just came right in the right spot and I got my head on it. It went right in the back of the net."
O’Rourke added another one with 13:21 left to give the Friars a 4-0 lead.
Now, the Friars’ attention turns to Sunday and a chance at the title.
"We just have to do what we did tonight," Douglas said. "We just have to start off earlier on Sunday. We have to come out from the start with high intensity, press, and play our game."