Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aquinas-Mercy Kickers Look Better Than Ever

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Aquinas-Mercy Kickers Look Better Than Ever

Article excerpt

In 27 seasons as soccer coach at Aquinas-Mercy High, Vince Drake has had more than his share of top-notch teams and standout players.

But this year's edition of the Falcons could be one of the program's best.

"We're not as deep as we've been in other years, but the nucleus is here," Drake said. "Our top seven or eight players can match up with anybody in the area. Without slighting any of our previous teams, I think these guys have a chance to be one of the finest teams I've ever coached."

And Drake knows a thing or two about good soccer teams. He has guided the Falcons to a record eight state championships in boys' soccer and to one in girls' soccer. This season Aquinas-Mercy is vying for its third consecutive Class 1A-3A title.

"These guys are very confident. But they're not arrogant about it," Drake said. "There's a lot of talent on this team and these guys really believe in themselves. We feel like we have one of the best teams in St. Louis and we're looking forward to the chance to prove it."

While the Falcons compete as a 1A-3A program, their schedule is loaded with 4A challenges.

"We look forward to facing the top teams, the CBCs, the DeSmets, the Vianneys," Drake said. "And we take a lot of pride in our ability to compete with the bigger schools. Last year, when we reached the title game (at the Granite City Tournament of Champions) and lost in penalty kicks, it was a real feather in our caps."

The Falcons, who opened their season with a 4-0 victory over McCluer North last weekend, feature two returning Post-Dispatch All-Metro players in midfielders Mark Filla and Kevin Kalish.

Filla, who can also play forward, has size, speed and skill. He had 18 goals and eight assists last year.

"Mark might have been the best player in St. Louis last year," Drake said. "He's so explosive. Any time the ball is at his feet, he's dangerous."

Kalish, who spent most of last season at sweeper, will move into the midfield this fall. He had seven goals and 11 assists as a junior. …

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