Sean Moser has never touched a state championship trophy.
The St. Paul’s soccer coach has won seven titles in 19 years as a head coach — three with the Wolves and another four at Sacred Heart — but refuses to hold the hardware after the game.
He says it isn’t because he’s superstitious. He wants to stay focused, plotting out next season before he even gets on the bus home.
Whatever the reason, something is working for St. Paul’s.
The Wolves try for their third consecutive Division I championship Saturday in their sixth straight finals appearance at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans.
Top seeded St. Paul’s kicks off against No. 3 Acadiana in what will be the final game of the season after all eight state champions are named between the boys and girls.
“It helps that they saw the crowd and what it takes to win (last year),” Moser said. “Acadiana hasn’t been there in years, so if they come out more jittery than we are and we can get a goal early, that could change the whole dynamic of the game.”
Finals week starts Wednesday with the newly added Division IV games.
The No. 3 Hannan girls and No. 5 Newman start the week off, while the No. 2 Newman boys follow their female classmates against No. 5 Northlake Christian.
This season marks the fifth time in six seasons the Wolverines reached the finals, winning in 2011.
“Whoever wins this game is going to be the first (Division IV champion) ever, and nobody can ever take that away from them,” Northlake Christian coach Nick Chetta said. “But that’s my job as a coach to downplay everything and say, ‘Boys, this is just a game.’ ”
On Thursday, No. 2 Sacred Heart tries for its first Division III title since taking the crown in 2013 when it goes against No. 1 Vandebilt. The boys game features defending champion St. Louis, the top seed, and No. 3 E.D. White.
The No. 2 Ben Franklin girls try to continue their dominance over Division II on Friday when they play No. 4 Lakeshore for what could be the Falcons’ fourth consecutive state championship.
On the boys side, No. 6 Holy Cross reached its first title game this year after never having moved past the second round before. The Tigers will see No. 1 St. Thomas More.
Just before St. Paul’s takes the field Saturday, No. 3 Mount Carmel will try to avenge its 3-1 loss to SSA in last season’s final when it plays No. 1 Byrd.
“We had a little bit of a nervous start that maybe cost us last year,” Mount Carmel coach Pavlos Petrou said. “Even though we played really well in the second half, it was too late. The emphasis is that you have to be switched on from the beginning.”
All girls games are scheduled to start at 5 p.m. , while the boys games will follow at 7:30 p.m.