Guardians dominate Bears, keep district final streak alive

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner
St. Michael the Archangel freshman Vincenti Nevshemal, center, reacts as his kick, which was deflected by William Chrisman goalkeeper Javier Merino, left, rolls just wide of the goal in Monday's Class 3 District 14 semifinal at Chrisman. Nevshemal later scored a goal to help the Guardians to a 7-0 win.

In only the fourth year in program history the St. Michael the Archangel boys soccer team will play for its fourth district championship.

The Guardians, the top seed in the Class 3 District 14 tournament, rolled to a 7-0 victory over host William Chrisman Monday night on Norman James Field.

After playing in Class 2 the past three years and winning three straight titles, the Guardians (12-6) will face Van Horn in the title game on Wednesday in a showdown of state-ranked teams, according to the Missouri Soccer Coaches latest power poll. St. Michael is No. 14, while Van Horn is No. 6.

Senior Lawrence Roccaro and junior Diego Garcia each scored two goals for the Guardians in the first matchup ever against the Bears.

St. Michael the Archangel Catholic junior forward Diego Garcia converts a penalty kick in the Guardians' 7-0 win over host William Chrisman in a Class 3 District 14 semifinal Monday.

Senior goalkeeper Vincent Haggerty improved to 7-0 in district play and has allowed only one goal in his first seven district games.

“We take it game-by-game,” Haggerty said. “This week we had a really nice week of practice, we worked hard and we stayed focused. Today we executed and hopefully Wednesday we can do the same thing. It is exciting to be here (district finals) again, but we can’t take it for granted. I’m excited this is my last year, I’m a senior. I’m just ready to play.”

St. Michael and Chrisman (10-10) were scoreless through the first 19 minutes, but Keegan LeNeave then scored the only goal the Guardians needed. He outraced a defender and then sent a shot across the box to find the back of the net in the 20th minute.

“I think we're trying to force things early and we weren’t playing our style,” Guardians coach Rob Putthoff said. “We weren’t connecting passes and guys were getting a little frustrated. Once we settled down and got the first goal I think everyone took a deep breath, getting zoned in and focused.”

William Chrisman's Legend Spencer, left, and St. Michael the Archangel's Joseph McNamara go up for a header in Monday's Class 3 District 14 semifinal at Chrisman. St. Michael went on to claim a 7-0 victory.

It wasn’t anything Chrisman coach Justin Schmidt hadn’t already seen on tape.

“I thought we had a solid game plan,” he said. “We watched film on how they played, and how they got the first goal is exactly what we told them. They always start on the backside on our defender and cut in front and play a nice through goal. That is how they got most of their goals. We were hoping to hang on a little longer and score on a counter, but things didn’t work out that way.”

Garcia’s first goal came in the 24th minute, coming at the end of a give-and-go between Charlie Putthoff and Josh Oberkrom, who sent a cross pass across the box that Garcia buried.

St. Michael the Archangel junior forward Charlie Putthoff, left, moves the ball up field past William Chrisman defender Janmarco Garcia (17) in their Class 3 District 14 semifinal Monday at Chrisman. The Guardians won 7-0.

A deflection off a shot by Vincenti Nevshemal, a freshman forward, went back to Roccaro, who put the ball in the net in the 28th minute.

Up 3-0 at halftime, St. Michael scored three goals in the second half and then got an own goal as well from Chrisman.

Oberkrom scored in the 48th minute on a pass from Roccaro, while Garcia buried a penalty kick for his second goal in the 52nd minute. Roccaro’s second goal came in the 67th minute, with Nevshemal getting his second assist.

The final goal came in the 69th minute on an own goal as a Chrisman player tried to clear a ball that bounced off a teammate and rolled in.

William Chrisman's Ali Fataki (10) and Tyler Large (3) sandwich St. Michael the Archangel's William Waris in a battle for a ball in the air in a Class 3 District 14 semifinal Monday at Chrisman. St. Michael went on to a 7-0 victory.

Chrisman had limited chances against the Guardians, but had a few opportune ones. In the 68th minute, junior Ali Fataki was taken down in the goalie box. That set up a penalty kick, but freshman Adrian Cisneros’ kick sailed over the crossbar. In the 79th minute, junior Janmarco Garcia took a free kick from the 18-yard line but his shot went over the crossbar as well. In the final seconds, Garcia’s fired a shot at goal, which was stopped by Hudson Waller, who came into goal for the Guardians after the lead went to 7-0.

St. Michael prepares to face Van Horn for the second time this season at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Chrisman. The first was a 2-1 Guardians win in overtime on Sept. 11. That snapped a four-game losing streak against the Falcons.

William Chrisman goalkeeper Javier Merino looks on helplessly as the final seconds tick off the Bears' season in a 7-0 loss to St. Michael the Archangel Catholic in a Class 3 District 14 semifinal Monday at Chrisman..