While the MCC showed its consistency as the top league in the state (and one of the best in the country), here’s a rundown of how an MCC Final came to be:
CBC – facing Rockhurst on Friday, the Cadets had possession early before the Hawklets controlled the action created offensive opportunities, only to have CBC thwart their efforts. The Cadets weathered Rockhurst’s offensive attack and finally landed the counter punch when, with under 10 minutes remaining, Xhovani Dokaj sent a 40 yard pass over the Hawklet defense and, as the defender mistimed the ball, LJ Adewumni stepped behind him and broke in on the Hawklet goal, sliding it to the left of the keeper and giving CBC a 1-0 lead. Rockhurst attempted to push forward, but the Cadet defense stood tall and weathered the late storm for a 1-0 victory and trip to the finals.
Chaminade – taking on Columbia Rock Bridge from earlier this season (resulting in a 3-2 win for Chaminade in PK’s), the first half saw a strike from the Bruins’ Tarnue Tyler veer away from the outside of the post, while Chaminade created chances but didn’t capitalize in a scoreless half. Early in the second half controversy began, as a goal was incorrectly given to Rock Bridge and resulted in two yellow cards (for dissent) from the Red Devils, protesting the call. The officials conferred and took away the goal and then, after a 12-minute delay, put the goal back on the board. Chaminade responded when, off a throw in to the side of the Rock Bridge box, Jordan Bay shot low and the goalie wasn’t able to corral the shot, and Jason Pesek stepped through to knock it in for the tie. With renewed energy, Chaminade attacked the Bruins’ goal but couldn’t put the winner away. In overtime, both teams showed fatigue, but the Red Devils resolve stepped up as Tommy Barlow sent a pass through the box that failed to clear, and Pesek stepped into a 15 yarder and struck it past the keeper for the OT victory and a trip to face the Cadets on Saturday. An all MCC final!
In the final, the Red Devils pressured early, just missing a low shot across the goal from Tommy Barlow and a strike from Ryan Fagan over the crossbar. The Cadets found their feet and worked to attack over the top of the Red Devil defensive, as Craig McLaurine found Jake Meyerkord behind the defense on a long run and he slid the shot past the Chaminade keeper (Eric Fletcher) for the goal and 1-0 Cadet lead. The Red Devils worked to increase their intensity, and pressured the Cadets back line, but they held strong and weathered the storm. With just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half, off of a defensive miscue, LJ Adewumni ran the left wing to the end line and crossed a soft floater over the keeper to a charging Max Keely, who calmly headed home the second goal for a 2-0 lead. The Red Devils dialed up the pressure once more, while the Cadets dropped their midfield even deeper in the defensive end, and just missed cutting the lead in half with two minues remaining in the first half, as the Cadet keeper (Nate Griffin) went to his left to contest a ball and a pass was slid to the front of the 18-yard box, where an open-net shot was misstruck over the crossbar, and the 2-0 lead remained at halftime.
The Red Devils came out looking to create more offensive flow in the second half, but the Cadets worked their plan to slow the match down and keep a strong defense intact, only pressing the offensive zone if available. While Chaminade’s attempts were thwarted by the Cadet defense, CBC was content to clear over the top to the corners to require the Red Devils to gather and set up again, giving the Cadets time to set the defense up again. In the end, the ability to convert their opportunities and a sound defense allowed CBC to capture their eighth state title.
The MCC not only had the two state finalists, but also had 3 of the final 8 squads. Finally, the MCC teams were only defeated by fellow MCC teams during the state championship tournament. While congratulations go out to CBC for their outstanding efforts this season, the MCC showed once again its value to the St. Louis (along with state and national) soccer community!