Cabrini men’s soccer took the field against Immaculata University under the lights at home in the CSAC quarterfinals on Thursday, Nov.1. They took the home win by a score of 3-1 to move to the CSAC semi-finals.
The team came on the field with determination and had one thing in mind: winning. With the team pumped up and ready to play, a crowd of 167 – Cabrini and Immaculata students and parents combined – filled the stands to watch the playoff opener.
The Cavs took possession from the start and took hold of the ball for the first 10 minutes. With good communication and teamwork, Cabrini took control of the game. Immaculata did not crumble to the intensity of the Cavs. Rather, they showed that they also came to play.
The game was definitely a head-to-head battle and both teams came out aggressive committing 30 fouls throughout the game. After possessing the ball the Cavs quickly began to put the ball on net. Both kept good pressure, and did not give up without a fight.
The Cavs took the first opportunity with a free kick by senior defenseman, Kyle Johnson. His shot was saved by Immaculata goalie, Chris Raudabaugh. Quickly after, senior Anthony Girolamo took a pass from sophomore George Lambritsios and found the back of the net for the first goal of the game with 20 minutes remaining in the first half.
“We came out with a plan from our coaches,” Girolamo said. “We exceeded it with passing and moves to get goals.”
With eight minutes left in the first half, the Cavs had another opportunity to score with a corner kick by Johnson. Johnson’s kick was met by junior Gabe Kuhn with a header into the back left corner of the net.
“This goal was a big turning point in the game,” Kuhn said. “We were more comfortable being up by two goals.”
Immaculata did not step down also having opportunity’s with a corner with four minutes left in the first half. Junior goalkeeper Eric Nowicki immediately blocked the kick to close the half securing the Cavs’ 2-0 lead.
The two teams came out of halftime with the same intensity. Immaculata tried to get an early goal on the Cavs but were quickly stopped and the ball moved to the other end of the field in back-and-forth play. Throughout the half both teams were not letting up, both having equal shots and opportunities on goal.
The Cavs were hungrier and dominated the second half with more ball control much like the first. With 10 minutes left in the game, the Cavs stormed down the field and freshman Mike Commacho fired a shot right past the goalie into the back of the net.
Immaculata did not get discouraged, putting a goal on the board with 1:48 left in the game. But the Cavs were still satisfied with the two-goal win.
“Like our coaches said, we dominated every aspect of the game,” freshman Boomer Steigelman said. “Our defense continuously plays well and we always pick each other up.”
The men will now have to battle in the semi-final game without a day of rest. They travel to face top-seeded Neumann University on Friday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m.
“It’s going to be hard playing back-to-back games,” sophomore Sean Neary said. “Since they beat us the first time around, everyone is excited to win and move on to the championship.”