In a hard-fought rematch between the two premier soccer programs on the north shore, top-ranked St. Paul’s defeated District 6 rival Mandeville 3-0 in the Division I state semifinals Saturday night at Hunter Stadium.
With the win, the Wolves (29-0-3) advance to the Division I title game to take on third-seeded Jesuit at 7:30 p.m. next Saturday at Tad Gormley. Earning a berth in their fifth consecutive state championship game, St. Paul’s will be going for their third state championship in five years.
Senior Eric Guin got the Wolves on the scoreboard in the 32nd minute. After corralling a deflection, Guin’s shot got past Mandeville goalkeeper Spencer Hollander and found the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Late in the second half, a pair of goals a minute apart gave the Wolves a commanding lead. In the 65th minute, Davis Netizschman launched a shot into the back right of the net and a minute later Barrick Roberts scored to make it 3-0.
“Give Mandeville credit,” Netizschman said. “They presented a big challenge for us (Saturday), and they were a better team tonight than the team we played earlier in the regular season. Only being up 1-0 at the half, we were a little nervous until we were able to get those two goals in the second half to give us some breathing room.
“You don’t want to celebrate too early, but after getting those two goals like we did we knew we had an excellent chance to advance. We knew we were going back to the state championship match.”
The win for St. Paul’s sets up a rematch between two of the top teams in the South. St. Paul’s and Jesuit met last year in the state semifinals and before that met for state championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
“It’s going to be a great matchup,” Netizschman said. “My freshman and sophomore years we lost to those guys (Jesuit) for the state championship. We have beaten them the last two times, so it is kind of the rubber match on Saturday night.
“A state championship has been this team’s only goal all season long. Yes we have the national ranking and the undefeated record, but our only goal from the beginning of the season was to win a state championship.”
Mandeville wraps up its season with a 19-3-3 record with two of its losses coming to the Wolves.