By Jeremy Balan
Sacred Heart Cathedral goalkeeper Connor Anderson did everything he could to hold off Archbishop Mitty for the first 70 minutes of Saturday’s West Catholic Athletic League matchup, but it was an unfortunate rebound on his ninth save of the game that allowed the Monarchs to break through.
The sophomore dove to his left to stop a header from Mitty’s Zachary Downey, but he could not corral the rebound. The loose ball bounced out to the front of the net, where junior Brian Babcock blasted in the first score of the game.
Anderson would have a match-high 10 saves, but Mitty’s Shane Luna would add another goal just three minutes later to seal the 2-0 win at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields.
“He was big since minute one,” Mitty head coach Cesar Sanchez said of Anderson. “Even the goal we had came after a big save, but luckily we kept on pounding.”
Anderson was not only tested by shots, but he also made several key interceptions on dangerous Mitty (7-5-1, 3-3-1) crossing passes.
“In the last couple of weeks, Connor has really stepped up to the plate,” said Sacred Heart assistant coach Paul Bayly, who was serving as head coach in Jeff Wilson’s absence due to an illness. “[The saves] weren’t just ones coming right at him. He had to stretch and make himself big, and when you have a goalkeeper like that, the back [line] has confidence and can play with a bit more freedom.”
Mitty had the majority of opportunities late and capitalized on them, but it was Sacred Heart (5-7-1, 2-5-0) that controlled the game early. In fact, it was a close call late in the first half that may have swung the momentum of the match.
In the 35th minute, Sacred Heart sophomore forward William Velasco found fellow sophomore Oscar Reyes streaking up the left side with only Mitty goaltender Edwin Robbins to beat.
Reyes chipped the ball over Robbins, who slid in to cut off the angle, but the ball hit the far post and rolled across the face of the net before a Mitty defender cleared away the dangerous loose ball.
“It was a great play by Oscar, but it was just unfortunate to hit the post,” Bayly said. “If we score there, it’s a whole different halftime team talk and we’re coming out with a different mentality. They went into the half with the momentum and then a few lucky breaks went their way.”
St. Francis 4, Riordan 1
Archbishop Riordan (0-10-1, 0-6-1) appeared to be primed for its first win of the season after Jonathan Gomez opened the scoring early in its game against WCAL foe St. Francis (9-2-0, 5-2-0) at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields, but the Lancers rattled off four unanswered goals to squash the Crusaders’ upset bid.