From the Wildcats' outstanding Assistant Soccer Coach Joe Popelka '84 and posted by Mr. Eddie Dwyer
COACH POPELKA: The game, to be kind, was a physical match and several players did not finish the contest. Stephen (Milhoan) had to leave from the field in the first half to go directly to the hospital. So it turned out to be a long night. Still sorting out who will be available for Tuesday's game versus Aurora.
The JVB squad started off the triple-header on Wasmer Field with a 3-2 victory over the Titans of St. John Jesuit. The game marked the return to the sidelines of Coach Anthony Fior who on Monday, along with his wife Molly, welcomed their first child, Harrison Lawrence Fior, into the St. Ignatius community.
The JVA team won the middle game by a score of 4-0 over the Dublin Jerome Celtics.
The Varsity improved to 9-0-2 with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over the Celtics. The physical match tested the Wildcats' depth, especially in light of the demanding match the night before against St. Louis University High School. Fortunately the weather cooperated and the rain only fell briefly at the very start of the game.
The Celtics, determined to dictate the pace from the opening whistle, played high intensity defense and attempted to strike by quick countering attacks. The Cats did not attempt a shot on goal until the 11th minute, but they made it count. Senior Stephen Milhoan, drawing several defenders to him as the Celtics anticipated his shot, instead crossed the ball to freshman Matthew McLaughlin, who headed the ball home for his 2nd goal of the season. Stephen's assist was the 33rd for his career. The majority of the half then saw most of the game played in midfield as both teams played determined defense.
In the 35th minute, senior Johne Vrablic unleashed a blast that unfortunately struck the crossbar. The rebound was quickly redirected into the back of the net by the opportunistic senior Adam Collins for his 3rd goal of the campaign. The Celtics though cut the lead in half 3 minutes later on a corner kick that was redirected into the net on the near post. Halftime found the Cats leading 2-1, and leading 5-2 in the shots category.
The intensity of the playoff-style match increased in the second half as both teams struggled to find a rhythm on offense. The Cats, fighting some injuries, relied on their deep bench and a strong defense to keep the Celtics off the board in the second half. In the 52nd minute, McLaughlin drove a free kick into the box that found the head of senior Patrick Strauss, giving the Cats a 3-1 lead. The header caught the crossbar and bounced down and behind the goalline for Strauss' 2nd goal of the year.
Lodge Dils once again manned the nets for the Wildcats. He faced 7 shots, but had to make only 2 saves.
The Cats play next at Aurora on Tuesday night at 7:00.
- Joseph Popelka '84