Having navigated through a 12-team field, Dutch Fork and Cardinal Newman will square off in Sund’s championship game of the fourth annual Airport Select Invitational.
Dutch Fork defeated Blythewood 4-0 on Saturday at Airport to earn its spot in the championship game. Cardinal Newman defeated St. James, 2-1.
“This is big confidence booster coming in here,” said Dutch Fork coach Todd Woodward. His team picked up its eighth consecutive win in a tournament meant to grow their confidence along with their skill.
In the eighth minute, Addam Hinton broke through the Blythewood defense and challenged the keeper with a crossing shot from the left. When the keeper missed the angle, Graham Jermstad moved in to score from the right.
In the 17th minute, Dutch Fork pushed its lead to 2-0 when Ryan Ross squeezed a shot through a crowd in front of the goalie’s box.
Jermstad added another goal three minutes later after the Silver Foxes pushed the ball down the right boundary and draw the Bengals out of the goal.
“We were trying a different organization on defense and, obviously, it didn’t work out for us,” Blythewood coach Peter Wittig said.
The Bengals’ attempts at a sustained offensive attack were thwarted by the Silver Foxes’ ability to shift their field to gain a numbers advantage near instantly. The Bengals posted one shot on goal in the half, which turned into a diving save by Kyle Brosius.
The Bengals played with renewed determination in the second half and were more successful at pressuring the Silver Fox defense — but could not cut into its deficit.
Instead, Dutch Fork’s Kyle Hnatko set the final score with a goal in the 57th minute.
In the day’s second semifinal, St. James took a defensive posture early on against a hard-charging Cardinal Newman squad. The Cardinals put up six shots on goal in the half, with St. James’ Hayward Brandon making three saves.
But with 3:19 left in the half, Cardinals Jack Sicker scored off an assist from Koty Millard, and Millard scored two minutes later to give the Cardinals a 2-0 halftime lead.
With 24 minutes to go, the Sharks were awarded a penalty kick, and St. James’ Quadarius Grate converted.
But the Cardinals put the game away with solid defense to advance.
The championship game is slated for 1 p.m. today at Airport.