Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Early Playoff Showdown Matches Top Two Teams in Class 1a-3a

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Early Playoff Showdown Matches Top Two Teams in Class 1a-3a

Article excerpt

It'll be No. 1 vs. No. 2 tonight when Aquinas-Mercy and St. Dominic square off in the Class 1A-3A soccer quarterfinals at A-B Conference and Sports Centre.

Game time is 8.

Aquinas-Mercy (18-6-3) is ranked No. 1 in the Post-Dispatch small-schools poll while St. Dominic (16-3-6) is No. 2. The Crusaders placed third in the Class 1A-3A playoffs last year. "I won't go so far as to say this is the state title game, but it's definitely a key match," Aquinas-Mercy coach Vince Drake said. "We know that St. Dominic is a quality team and that we're going to have to be at our best." The Falcons, coming off an emotional 1-0 penalty-kick victory over archrival Rosary in the District 3 title match, played to a 1-1 draw against St. Dominic on Oct. 14 at Ferdinand Park in Florissant. "It was an even game," Drake said. "They scored late in the first half and we had to get a late goal to get the tie. Both teams had some chances, and it's a game that could've gone either way." St. Dominic coach Dave Fitzler feels that game, in which Aquinas-Mercy scored with less than a minute to play, and last year's third-place finish at state should give the Crusaders plenty of incentive for tonight's contest. "We have a lot of respect for Aquinas-Mercy; they have a wonderful team with a lot of great players," he said. "But we've been playing some great soccer, too. At this point, I don't think it's a good idea to concern yourself too much with the other guy. We know Aquinas-Mercy is good, but we want to focus on doing the things that have worked for us." The Crusaders, whose only losses this season came against St. Louis U. High (2-0) and Chaminade (3-2 and 1-0), are riding a 16-game unbeaten streak. St. Dominic is 14-0-2 since suffering the 1-0 loss to Chaminade on Sept. 24. Senior Jay Wright has been especially strong in goal, posting 16 shutouts. Backfield leaders include Chris Rahe (11 goals, five assists), Matt Orf, Jon Wetzel and Jason Kunza. Top offensive threats are Jarod Bertrand (18 goals, 12 assists) and Josh Beeson (17 goals, five assists). …

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