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St. Anthony's looks best in CHSAA soccer

St. Anthony's Ryan Goncalves, left, gets pressured by

St. Anthony's Ryan Goncalves, left, gets pressured by Chaminade's Michael Tek during the first half of the NSCHSAA Class AA final at Adelphi University on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Credit: James Escher

There's a target on St. Anthony's back this year.

That comes with the territory of winning consecutive CHSAA state soccer titles, and the Friars are welcoming the challenge of completing a three-peat.

"It sets the bar higher," senior midfielder Ryan Goncalves said. "It puts a little more pressure on us, but pressure never hurt any of us. It's good to have it. It makes us perform every night."

Goncalves, who had seven goals and two assists last year, is one of several returners from the 2014 squad. He and fellow seniors Brian Flynn, Zuberi Symister, Cordt Weinstein and Junsei Ro will step into leadership roles vacated by T.J. Butzke and last year's graduating class.

"They showed me the amount of work it takes to win," Goncalves said of last year's seniors. "Last year was a great experience because I learned that it's not going to be a walk in the park. Every game, no matter who we're playing, we have to come out and give 100 percent."

The Friars lost three times last year: once to St. John the Baptist and twice to Chaminade, which went 12-0 in CHSAA regular-season play.

Those two foes figure to be the Friars' top threats.

Chaminade will be led by junior forward Matthew Vowinkel and senior defender Kevin Lee. Vowinkel made varsity as a sophomore -- a rarity at Chaminade -- and scored 14 goals.

Senior forward Aidan Keenan, who scored 22 goals last year, and senior goalkeeper Nick Maldarella will lead St. John the Baptist.

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