St. Ed’s loses 2-0 to St. Stephens in boys soccer regional final

VERO BEACH — St. Edward’s lost 2-0 to Bradenton-St. Stephens in Friday’s regional final game. 

St. Stephens goalie Conner McCullen held St. Edward’s scoreless throughout, as the Pirates came up a game away from advancing to the semi-finals for the second-straight year. Jorge Zavala of St. Stephens scored at 28:54 in the first period to put his team up 1-0.  The goal came when the St. Edward’s defense was rushed by St. Stephens, and Pirates goalie Christian French’s pass was intercepted in the box.

“That first goal hurt,” said St. Edward’s Coach Bill Keating.  “They hustled and created that goal.  We did what we normally do, and passed the ball back to our keeper and they made a rush.  It is hard to find fault with anything that happened in that play – they did a nice job of applying pressure.”

St. Edward’s pulled together and mounted several offensive pushes, but just couldn’t break the Falcon defense.  Their best chance came when Kyle Aldrich made a move on a St. Stephens defender at the top of the box, took two steps to his right, and drilled a shot that went just high of the goal.

Sam Lynch of St. Stephens scored from near the right post with 6:45 left in the game to put the Pirates down 2-0.  The goal came after St. Edward’s made several aggressive offensive pushes to score.

“We knew they were a great passing team,” said Keating.  “They got some of their players from IMG (academy), so we knew what we were up against.  We knew we had to be organized defensively, and we were.”

“We’re graduating a great group of seniors this year, and we will go into a bit of rebuilding for the next couple of years,” Keting added.  “This was our 24th-straight game with a different starting lineup, and that’s hard because this is a game of rhythm.”

St. Edwards ended the season 15-5-4.

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