Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aquinas-Mercy Takes Record 8th Title with 6-0 Victory

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aquinas-Mercy Takes Record 8th Title with 6-0 Victory

Article excerpt

There was never any doubt.

"It took us awhile to get the first goal, but after that, we knew it was ours," Aquinas-Mercy High senior Jake Nieroda said Saturday after the Falcons rolled past Kansas City Center 6-0 in the Missouri Class 1A-3A title game at St. Louis Soccer Park.

Center "played hard and all, but we had an answer for everything they tried," Nieroda said. "Winning this title meant a lot to us, and there was no way we'd let it get away from us."

The title was the Falcons' second in succession and their fifth in six years. Aquinas-Mercy has won a state-record eight boys soccer championships.

"I was a little nervous early because I didn't know much about (Center)," said Aquinas-Mercy coach Vince Drake, who also has coached the Falcons to one girls title. "But our guys play with so much skill and intelligence. There was no way they'd let this opportunity escape them."

The Aquinas-Mercy victory also continues the Archdiocesan Athletic Association's dominance in 1A-3A. Since the split to two classes in 1985, AAA teams have won all nine titles. Aquinas-Mercy has five, Rosary three and Kennedy one.

"We've finished first or second in everything this year," Drake said. "We won our league tournament, our regular-season league crown, our district tournament and the CYC Tournament. And we were second at Granite City.

"From the first day of practice in August, we knew this team had the potential to win it all. We're skilled, and we played with a lot of intelligence this year. This is a great soccer team. This team could win the title in 4A. But we play 1A-3A, and we're thrilled with another championship."

The Falcons (25-5-3) controlled from start to finish Saturday. They received two goals from Mark Filla and single tallies from Nieroda, Jake Ashley, T.J. Smith and Neil Rackers. Keepers Andy Korbesmeyer and Clint McDuffie each saw time in Aquinas-Mercy's 21st shutout of the season. The Falcons didn't allow a goal in five postseason games.

Aquinas-Mercy, ranked No. …

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