St. Francis soccer repeats as district champs


Published: Friday, January 29, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 12:13 a.m.

The situation felt very familiar for Scott Plavac, Ty Murphy and the St. Francis Wolves.

Down 1-0 to P.K. Yonge with less than five minutes left in the District 4-2A championship game, the Wolves used what worked earlier in the season against the Blue Wave. In the regular season game at St. Francis, Murphy kicked in a goal in the final minutes and the game resulted in a 1-1 tie.

This time it was Murphy again, who, during a St. Francis corner kick, made a goal with a header off an assist by Andy Neissen. The goal forced overtime, where Murphy set up Plavac for the game-winning goal, and St. Francis defeated P.K. Yonge 2-1.

“I got a great pass from my teammate, and it was a great goal,” Plavac said. “I had a lot of confidence in my team. The first game we played them in, we came back just like that so I knew we could do it again. And it happened. This was a lot better than a tied game.”

After getting behind his defenders, Murphy found Plavac at point-blank range. Plavac nearly ran out of room while running toward the goal but snuck the kick inside the near post. The next thing he knew, he was being piled upon by his teammates.

The win gave St. Francis their second straight district title. Wolves coach Scott Fries credited his team’s tempo despite falling behind late in the game.

P.K. Yonge took a 1-0 lead in about the 72nd minute after forward Nick Cattafesta scored an unassisted goal to the far post.

“We didn’t feel like we were being out-played,” Fries said. “We have confidence in ourselves. At the end, knowing that we needed (a goal) and we had the time to do it, we just pressed forward and believed we could.”

Fries said his team carried that momentum to overtime, which put them in position to win.

“We had made the decision to get the golden goal, to push forward and not sit back and wait,” he said. “Scottie made a great move and he had the opportunity to finish and kept his calm about him.”

Coming into the game, P.K. Yonge, which is new this year to District 4-2A, had won seven straight 7-3A titles. Blue Wave coach Chris Raye said his team played with as much intensity as they had all year and credited St. Francis for matching that intensity.

“Obviously scoring in the last few minutes was good for us,” Raye said, “but knowing St. Francis is going to match that with their intensity level, they would be able to come back.”

Raye said he would immediately focus on getting his team ready for next week’s regional playoffs. P.K. Yonge will travel to play Tallahassee Maclay in the quarterfinals while St. Francis will host Lafayette.

“We still have a regional tournament to play, so we’re very quick to get focused back on that,” Raye said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to play St. Francis again in a regional semifinal.”

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