Holy Cross advanced to a place it’s never been before — the boys soccer final.
The Tigers advanced to the Division II championship game with a 1-0 victory over Woodlawn on Saturday night at Pan American Stadium.
“We’ve never been as far as where we are today,” Holy Cross coach Luke Sheekey said.
“The boys have worked their socks off all year and had some really tough games, including every single playoff game, but they deserve this right now.”
It took all 80 minutes-plus for the Tigers to get on the board, but Josue Fuentes’ goal in stoppage time finally broke the scoreless tie and sent Holy Cross to the final.
“It feels great. Amazing,” Fuentes said. “I don’t even know what to say.”
Fuentes scored the goal after the ball rebounded off the keeper from a teammate’s shot. He got enough on the ball to kick it out of the keeper’s reach. “We were hoping to get a rebound,” he said. “We got lucky.”
Holy Cross dominated possession, especially in the second half. The Tigers had many scoring chances but we’re not able to cash in. But the kept applying the pressure throughout the game, and eventually broke the Panthers’ defense.
“That’s what we work on, finishing,” Fuentes said. “We had trouble with that this year (but got it done tonight).”
Holy Cross’ possession control meant keeper Thomas Dugal did not get tested very often, but he answered the call each time he was.
“It feels great,” Dugal said. “We’re doing it for our seniors. They’ve been here for a long time, and the last few years weren’t great. It’s good for them.”
Holy Cross had never played beyond the second round of the playoffs previously.
“We’ve never been to a quarterfinal, (we) beat that.” Sheekey said. “We’ve never been to a semifinal, (we) beat that. Hopefully, we go all the way next week.”
Holy Cross will face off against St. Thomas More on 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tad Gormley Stadium.
“We’re going to do what we’ve done with every other round,” Sheekey said. “We’re going to give them the day off (Sunday) and then straight back to work on Monday.”