When Cardinal Newman boys soccer coach Will Eudy lifted the SCISA state championship trophy high above his head this past Saturday in Charleston after a 2-1 victory (4-1 in penalty kicks) against Porter-Gaud, the Cardinals program officially could be called a dynasty.
It was the third consecutive state championship and fourth in five years. The victory capped the careers of 13 seniors, four of whom will play in college. Many of those players have been around for all of the four state titles Eudy has won in his 10 seasons at Cardinal Newman.
“It’s a credit to everybody,” Eudy said. “I have a great staff, a great principal that backs us and lets us get in the tournaments around the state. It’s important for me to see these guys finish, because they put so much into the program. They have great club experience at South Carolina United and they’ve grown as a group and deserve this. They’ve been a part of every championship that I’ve had, so it will be a tall order to replace them.”
The Cardinal Newman soccer family overcame midseason tragedy to win the title. Charlie Terreni Jr., an 18-year old USC student and former player for the Cardinals during the championship run, passed away in March. The season was dedicated to him.
Cardinal Newman finished the season 26-3 and won its final 22 matches against a schedule that included public school powers Wando (nationally ranked and Class 4A finalist), A.C. Flora (Class 3A finalist), Dutch Fork, Brookland-Cayce and Airport.
Playing that type of schedule helped prepare the Cardinals for the postseason.
“We’re respected enough to where people want games with us and, usually, it’s a good game,” Eudy said. “You can’t recreate game action in practice. It’s important for us to play teams that will challenge us.”
Senior Jack Sicker, who will play at Wofford, agrees.
“Every time we play, the other team brings their best because we’re Cardinal Newman,” Sicker said. “We know we’re better than a lot of teams we play, so we just have to keep playing to our ability. Coach schedules a lot of games that have a playoff atmosphere, and that helps.”
Playing in that type of pressure-cooker all season paid off in the championship contest. Cardinal Newman and Porter-Gaud were tied at 1 after regulation, two 10-minute overtime periods and two five-minute golden goal periods.
“(Porter-Gaud) wanted to get to PKs, and I think they were playing for that a little bit, but we were up for the challenge,” Eudy said.
Sicker opened the PKs with a goal before freshman goalkeeper Carson Bohannon recorded a save. Wyatt Millard scored and Bohannon knocked away the Cyclones’ second attempt. Cam Parker scored on the third shot by the Cardinals before Porter-Gaud was able slip one by Bohannon.
Cam Bohannon, a senior captain for Cardinal Newman and Carson’s older brother, sealed the championship with a score.
The freshman was not fazed by what was on the line going into the penalty kicks.
“As soon as the whistle blew at the end of the game, I didn’t say one word to anybody,” Carson Bohannon said. “I just got focused on what I needed to do to help the team win.”
Cam Bohannon said the only thing he said to his brother before the penalty kicks was, “You got this.” To watch his younger brother come up with two saves in the biggest match of the season made things that much more special.
“We’ve had our share of differences. We argued in a preseason game, but after that we got it figured out and really bonded well on the field this year. That was very important to me,” Cam Bohannon said. “I have a lot of confidence in him. It was special for me to hit the winning one, and then I got to go hug him afterwards.”