COLUMBUS, OHIO - Two wins, a division title, and a #1 seed in the playoffs capped off an almost perfect regular season for the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Boys U17 team this past weekend.
In their second to last game of the regular season, SSM took on Columbus Crew on Saturday. The Sabres started the game well, creating two clear chances in front of goal that simply did not find their way across the line. Soon, however, SSM was in front with a well-worked goal as Matthew Roou ’21 found Wylie Trujillo ’20 on the backside to put SSM up 1-0. The lead would not be relinquished. Mitch Budler ’21 stayed calm and composed in goal throughout the half, collecting and distributing cleanly throughout. Halftime was welcomed, as were the water breaks, as the weather placed the team in the hottest game of the year. As SSM came out of the locker room, increasing the lead was the objective. First, however, Budler was called upon to make a big save to preserve the lead. Trujillo assisted Budler in doing so as he connected with Erick Villatoro ’20 who was free from just a few yards out to make it 2-0. As the team broke from the water break at the midpoint of the half, a third goal was the objective and it came with Roou drawing a penalty. Carson Kelly ’22 calmly stepped up and capitalized on the penalty to take the three points and set up the conclusion of the season the next day.
The Internationals were the final opponent of the season. The wind advisory, heat, and the travel all added to the drama as finishing first in the division was an important target and maintaining a #1 seed for playoffs just as important. The game started well for the Sabres as Brody Phan ’21 created the first chance in the opening minutes. Soon after, Kelly put SSM into the lead with his fourth goal in four games. The Internationals fought hard for the equalizer and seven minutes later were successful – 1-1, 21 minutes into the game. As SSM continued to play against the driving wind, the soccer improved when at the 36th-minute mark Antino Lopez ’20 scored from 20 yards out to restore the lead, which would remain to halftime. Sixteen minutes into the second half, the Internationals equalized. Seven minutes later, they were ahead. A defense that had only given up 10 goals on the season and who have played from in front in most of the games were behind. Substitutes Villatoro, Boone, and Connor Gist ’20 entered with a purpose and just two minutes after the opponent had taken the lead, Lopez equalized. A tie was not in the plans for SSM though. With ten minutes remaining, Diego Ochoa ’20 launched a long free kick into the box that flew through the keeper’s hands onto the post bouncing to the ever-present Roou to take the lead. The excitement didn’t end there as Kelly converted his second goal of the game to seal the 5-3 win, the division title, and #1 seed in the country.
“Winning is performing. Performing is preparing. This is what we shall do for the playoffs. When the players return on June 3rd following commencement, we will get right back to what we are always doing. Preparing. Preparing for June…June 2019, 2020, 2021, and each June thereafter. Our charge is to see how good we can become and then to give that to those that are around us. This is our plan. We look forward to what lies ahead – the challenge,” state Sean Bushey, Director of Boys Soccer.
The Sabres will begin their playoff journey on June 18th in Oceanside, California. To stay up to date on game times and schedules throughout the playoffs, click here.