Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Mary's Feeling Special Once Again

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Mary's Feeling Special Once Again

Article excerpt

The St. Mary's High soccer team is on the verge of something special. Again.

"There's a quiet confidence about this team right now," Dragons coach Jim Bokern said. "We've been here before, and I think these guys know what it's going to take to win. We know nobody's going to hand us a state title, but if we continue to play the way we've played throughout the season, we should do well this weekend."

The Dragons, who've spent most of the season as the top-ranked team in the Post-Dispatch small-schools poll, carry a 21-3-6 record into tonight's 7 o'clock Missouri 1A-3A semifinal against Pembroke Hill (18-4) of Kansas City. Sixth-ranked St. Dominic (13-7-6) and Springfield Greenwood (20-2-1) will meet in the 8 p.m. semifinal.

The title match will be Saturday at 2 p.m., with the third-place game at noon.

This will mark St. Mary's fourth consecutive final four appearance; the Dragons lost 3-1 in the title game to Aquinas-Mercy in 1992 and 2-1 to Duchesne in last year's final. In 1993, St. Mary's placed third.

"I think our experience definitely gives us an edge," Bokern said. "Last year, when Duchesne beat Aquinas-Mercy in the quarterfinals, I think some of our kids felt the title was ours. But I think that taught us a good lesson.

"If you want something bad enough, you have to go out and get it. We feel like we're the team to beat, but now it's important that we go out and prove it on the field."

The Dragons, who graduated nine starters and 16 lettermen a year ago, entered this season as a unknown entity. Then St. Mary's won its first nine games.

"We were finding ways to win games that we'd tied or lost in other years," Bokern said. "I started to believe in this team and more importantly, they started to believe in themselves. We reached the semifinals of the Granite City Tournament of Champions and then we tied CBC in a great game. …

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