High School Sports

Last season’s failure motivating factor for Cardinal Newman soccer team

Watch: Cardinal Newman wins Palmetto Cup over nationally-ranked Clover

Cardinal Newman defeated Clover in penalty kicks to win second straight Palmetto Cup
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Cardinal Newman defeated Clover in penalty kicks to win second straight Palmetto Cup

Cardinal Newman boys soccer did something for the first time in school history – now it hopes history doesn’t repeat itself.

The Cardinals swept through the prestigious Nike Palmetto Cup and defeated nationally-ranked Clover 5-4 on penalty kicks in the championship game to capture a rare second consecutive title in the long-running spring break tournament. CN was first team since Wando in 2016-17 to do that.

A year ago, when they accomplished the first part of the run, they lost in the SCISA Class 3A state championship to rival Hammond.

“Our main goal is to learn from last year,” Cardinal Newman coach Will Eudy said. “Last year is last year. This is an entirely different game and team. We’ve split with Hammond already but everything we’ve done this year is to prepare for that final day (May 11), including playing in this tournament.”

Senior Matthew Binette, who was named the tournament MVP after scoring four goals and recording three assists, believes the history lesson was taken to heart.

“We definitely remember last year,” Binette said. “We know it’s getting late in the season and we have to grind it out. We want to play to the level that we know we’re capable of playing. It’s sort of like Virginia (basketball). Last year they were knocked out in the first round and they had something to comeback and prove this year. We feel the same way.”

Cardinal Newman (18-2) lost a lot of firepower off of last year’s team with the graduation of forward Grayson Barber and goalkeeper Carson Bohannon among the five departing seniors from the 2018 runner-ups.

But this group has jelled and played about as well as Eudy thought they would.

“I think this group felt overlooked,” Eudy said. “Some of the marquee names from last year are gone but this group has been on a mission since day one. Even though we have two losses, they’ve answered the bell every time. They’re happy to do their job and play great as a team. We just have to carry that through now.”

Binette somewhat agrees with his coach.

“We have a bunch of younger guys that needed to step up and they have,” the forward said. “That has been a staple of this program. We as seniors want to leave a legacy and know they younger guys is what is going to help us achieve the ultimate goals we want to as a team.”

Sophomore Garen Presnal is the leading goal scorer with 16. Binette has added 14 goals and a team-leading 23 assists. Sixteen different players have tallied at least one goal for the Cardinals.

Junior Ignacio Camps has been solid in goal as well.

Eudy hopes things can continue to go as well as they have for another three weeks until state championship Saturday.

“I will roll with these guys any time,” the longtime Cardinals coach said. “We have a great group of seniors that have been leaders and a group of underclassmen that are talented but just a little inexperienced. We need to solidify our identity over the next few weeks and I think we will be okay.”