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DOLPHINS, KNIGHTS IN FINALS

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By Robert Balajadia

Knights TJ Atalig scored both his goals in a four minute span giving his team a 3-1 halftime lead. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights TJ Atalig scored both his goals in a four minute span giving his team a 3-1 halftime lead. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The St. John’s Knights avoided any surprises against the FD Friars beating them 7-1 in the semifinals at the GFA soccer field in Harmon to advance to the championship game this Saturday. Their finals opponent, Southern Dolphins, handled the GW Geckos in the first game of the evening rolling on to a 6-0 win.

The Friars were riding a big win heading into the semifinals by defeating the  third-ranked Okkodo Bulldogs but the Knights closed the book on their Cinderella story behind a gritty defensive performance from All-Island first team goalie Reed Meyer, who had a couple of highlight reel saves. Meyer allowed one goal right before the first half ended but played stingy the rest of the game not allowing any Friar to get one past him.

“They are a really fast offense but I needed to rely on my defense, make sure they know what to do. I just needed to keep my head in the game and save those balls. The offense scoring took a lot of pressure off me but of course I still needed to do my job,” stated Meyer on facing the speedy Friar forwards. FD’s honorable mention midfielder Kristian Cruz was the lone Friar to score one past Meyer.

The Knights potent offense got off to a slow start but did manage to attempt eight shots at goal before getting their first score in the 24th minute where All-Island first team midfielder Christian Schweizer rebounded a missed free-kick for the teams first point.

Christian Schweizer put the Knights ahead with this score off a rebound to give the Knights the definitive lead. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Christian Schweizer put the Knights ahead with this score off a rebound to give the Knights the definitive lead. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Quickly after, Knights All-Island second team forward TJ Atalig scored on their 10th attempt in the 31st minute and 12th try just three minutes later nearly giving him a hat-trick. The Knights went into halftime with a 3-1 lead and were set on finishing the Friars in the second by tacking on four more goals to secure their spot against the Southern Dolphins for all the marbles this coming Saturday.

All-Island first team defender Cedric Sevilla, All-Island first team midfielder Jonathan Odell, and Devin Hua were among the other Knights who chipped in with a goal.

Atalig said the biggest factor of their win was that, “everyone’s goal heading into the game was that we we’re going to the championship and everyone wanted it. After halftime we were told never to let up. Even though we were up 3-0 we still had to play like it was zero-zero.”

As far as looking forward to next weekend, Atalig did not want to put any pressure on his squad by predicting an outcome but failure is the last thing on his mind.

Not even the loud and constant cheering from Friar Nation could prevent the tough loss. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Not even the loud and constant cheering from Friar Nation could prevent the tough loss. (photo by Jesse Castro)

“This is going to be a really interesting game. We have to come out this weekend like we want to win. It starts with having the mindset that we can win it. We got to believe!”

 Dolphins 6, Geckos 0

Like their female counterparts last season, the Southern boys will be looking to snag another soccer championship trophy with a big win against the fourth seeded GW Geckos.  The Dolphins have majority of the All-Island first team players, all of whom contributed to the big win.

The Southern Dolphins gave their fans plenty of reason to celebrate with a big win over the Geckos. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Southern Dolphins gave their fans plenty of reason to celebrate with a big win over the Geckos. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The top two teams of the league will face off in the championship which does not often happen due to the occasional upsets.  Both teams left out any debate on who deserves a title shot with big wins over formidable opponents.

The Geckos and Friars will play for the official third and fourth spot in the consolation game before the Dolphins and Knights take the field this Saturday.

 

Southern High's Eddie Lee Lorenzo keeps back GW defenders as he carries the ball toward the goal during a semifinal match. Lorenzo scored once.(courtesy photo)

Southern High’s Eddie Lee Lorenzo keeps back GW defenders as he carries the ball toward the goal during a semifinal match. Lorenzo scored once.(courtesy photo)

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