Cardinal Newman advanced to the SCISA Class 3A boys soccer state championship match with a 2-0 semifinal win against longtime playoff rival Pinewood Prep on Wednesday at George Watson Field.
The defending champion Cardinals (16-8-3) square off against Porter-Gaud in the season finale on Saturday at Heathwood Hall. P-G qualified for the title match with a penalty-kick shootout win against Hammond.
“We couldn’t seem to settle down and just play in the first half even though we were doing all the right things,” CN coach Will Eudy said.
“At half, we talked about playing loose and doing what we do best without rushing things. And that seemed to work. Overall, it was a very good performance front to back.”
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The teams were locked in a scoreless duel until eighth-grader Grayson Barber found the back of the net in the 44th minute. Barber got control of the ball in a scrum just inside the box and beat Panthers keeper Jack Osborne with a low, hard shot.
“Grayson was in the right place at the right time and he knew what to do with it,” Eudy said. “That was a big goal because it kind of took the pressure off. We really relaxed and had our passing game going the rest of the match.”
The insurance tally by freshman Ben Mizuer came in the 60th minute. The scoring play started with a perfectly placed, long lead ball up from left side by senior midfielder Charlie Terreni that freshman German Jaramillo ran down and centered to an unmarked Mizeur in front of the goal.
“We probably left some goals out on the field, but we’ll take the 2-0 win and move on,” Eudy said. “I’m proud of these guys. They’ve had to learn how to play without an All-American (Koty Millard) who pretty much carried us last year. It took them some time to develop an identity of their own.”
Cardinal Newman is looking to secure its third SCISA championship since Eudy took command of the program in 2006.