For Cabrini fans, all eyes were on the soccer field on Sunday, Nov. 4. For the Cabrini men, facing an upstart Rosemont team felt manageable.
“We knew if we knocked them (Neumann) off, we could win the championship,” said sophomore Christian Martin.
After knocking off top-seeded Neumann University on Friday, Nov. 2, the Cavaliers took the field in front of over 200 fans for the CSAC Final at Bryn Mawr College.
In the end, the Cavaliers won their first conference title since 2009, hanging on for a 2-1 win over the Rosemont Ravens.
Just under two minutes into the game senior Anthony Girolamo scored off of a corner-kick to give the Cavaliers an early lead. That lead would hold into the half but the early goal helped calm the nerves early.
“We were under a lot of pressure today,” first-year head coach Rob Dallas said. “Rosemont definitely took us to the limit. Getting the early goal from Anthony was huge.”
As the second half got underway, both Cabrini and Rosemont came out with a lot of fire. But in the 61st minute, senior Kyle Johnson drilled a shot from 25 yards out, scoring to give Cabrini a two-goal lead.
The shutout would not last that much longer as Rosemont got up on the scoreboard on a goal by Yohana Ghede, making it 2-1.
That would be the only shot to beat freshman goalkeeper R.J. Pino. Making a crucial start, Pino stopped nine of 10 Rosemont shots to preserve the lead and nail down the team’s first title in three seasons. For the first-year head coach, the championship was the perfect ending to a debut season.
“We’re obviously happy with the results,” Dallas said. “A lot of the time championship games aren’t the most beautiful games because there is so much emotion and intensity. But I’m really proud of the guys today.”
Senior midfielder/back Ryan Juhring was named CSAC Final MVP, also contributing to Cabrini’s stellar defense throughout the game.
The Cavalier’s now have an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament from winning today’s championship game. They will learn their first-round opponent on Monday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m. in the NCAA selection process.