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STA outduels Holy Angels in rematch of Class 1A, Section 3 finals

By Kassondra Burtis, SportsEngine, 09/09/17, 10:45AM CDT


Logan Davis scored twice in the first half, helping the Cadets to a 3-1 lead at the half.

St. Thomas Academy senior Logan Davis, who netted two first half goals, dribbles around a Holy Angels defender in the second half Saturday afternoon at the StarDome in Richfield. The Cadets defeated the Stars 5-2 . Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine

St. Thomas Academy may have lost its first game of the season after winning the Class 1A, Section 3 championship last year, but coach Noel Quinn is only focused on the improvements his team has made and will continue to make as the season progresses.

So far, his team is doing just as he hoped. The Cadets (3-1) rebounded from their season-opening 1-0 loss to St. Paul Highland Park by winning their next two games against St. Paul Academy and St. Paul Humboldt by one goal each, then defeated Holy Angels (4-1-1, 1-0) 5-2 on Saturday afternoon.

“All of our goals today were really good team goals,” Quinn said. “We’re still trying to find our team and our balance this season. We have a really strong team, but we just aren’t clicking at 100 percent just yet, so we’re just trying to focus on getting better.”

Today’s rematch against last year’s Class 1A, Section 3 section final opponent Holy Angels was a chance to do that.

“We hadn’t played since last week, so we took a few days off and then we just focused on ourselves,” Quinn said. “We didn’t think about last year at all and we just wanted to play well.”

The Cadets led 3-1 after the half before the Stars, who are ranked No. 4 in the Class 1A coaches' poll, brought the game back to within one on a successful penalty kick by senior Will Nicklay. The Cadets scored the final two goals, the last one coming off a penalty kick by senior Alex Tsobanakis—his first high school goal.

Quinn knew those goals would come. Through four games, the Cadets have scored nine goals from five different players.

“We have the goals on our team, we just want more balance,” Quinn said. “At this stage, we’re more concerned about the two that we conceded rather than the five we scored.”

St. Thomas Academy senior Logan Davis netted the game’s first two goals within the first 18 minutes. He credited his early success to great teamwork and taking advantage of the opponent’s mistakes.

“The first goal, I was running across and our striker Nikita Zholtok gave me a perfect ball, I just had to tap it in far post,” Davis said. “For the second one, we like to run a high press, and they just kept feeding their center backs out from the gate. They usually had their backs toward the goal, so we just had to pick it off of them.”

The Stars had a fast, aggressive offense, often serving far, leading passes to their attackers from their defense. The Cadets caught on to the strategy after being beaten on that play many times, and made the adjustment during the game’s second half.

“For the second half, our coach told us we had to focus on covering for each other,” Davis said. “We were playing really flat in the back and we had to fix that in the second half and that worked out pretty well.”

Davis echoed Quinn’s sentiment of wanting to see progression throughout the season and that the No.5-1A Cadets took a step in the right direction Saturday.

“We’re less focused on where we are right now,” Davis said. “10 games into the season, we want to be playing at our best.”

To do that, Davis noted his team’s play today and how that needs to continue.

“We just have to make sure we are working every team and developing all of our guys at different positions. That really worked well for us today.”

St. Thomas Academy midfielder Amanuel Bird takes a corner kick against Holy Angels Saturday afternoon at the StarDome in Richfield. The Cadets defeated the Stars 5-2 . Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine

First Report

In a rematch of last year’s Class 1A, Section 3 section title game, St. Thomas Academy defeated Holy Angels 5-2 at the StarDome in Richfield on Saturday afternoon.

Senior midfielder Logan Davis scored his first two goals of the season within the first 20 minutes of the game to give the Cadets (3-1) the early 2-0 lead. Vernon Lovegreen, who scored the lone goal in last year’s section title game to give the Cadets the section championship, tallied St. Thomas Academy’s third goal—the eventual game-winner.

Jack Foley scored in the first half for Holy Angels (4-1-1, 1-0) to put the Stars, who are ranked No. 4 in the Class 1A coaches’ poll, on the board and bring the score to 3-1.

Each team scored on a penalty kick, with Will Nicklay’s penalty kick goal coming midway through the second half to bring the Stars within one goal. Alex Tsobanakis added the No. 5-1A Cadets’ final point on his first high school goal with just under 14 minutes remaining in the game.

Holy Angels sophomore Porter Ball races a St. Thomas Academy defender to the ball Saturday afternoon in Richfield. The Stars were defeated by the Cadets 5-2. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine

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