COVINGTON — Cameron Robinson chipped in a pass from Daniel Garraway at the top of the box in the ninth minute to give the fifth-seeded St. Paul’s all the scoring needed to book its third straight trip to the Division I soccer final.
Garraway’s goal gave the Wolves the edge they needed to upset top-seeded Lafayette High 1-0 in semifinal contest played Saturday in front of an overflow crowd at St. Paul’s Hunter Stadium.
With the victory, St. Paul’s advances to play rival Jesuit in the Division I final set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Tad Gormley Stadium. Jesuit took a 1-0 victory over Brother Martin.
St. Paul’s stunned the Lions with early offense and then the Wolves used their defense to lock down Lafayette’s offense. To call St. Paul’s defensive effort impressive would be an understatement. Lafayette High didn’t get its first shot until 27 minutes into the contest.
As Lafayette’s offense struggled, the Wolves also missed several offensive opportunities to put the game out of reach.
Garraway launched a stiff shot that the Lafayette goalkeeper snagged, keeping it just a one goal deficit just as the halftime whistle blew.
Then in the 70th minute, St. Paul’s Kannan Otillio sailed a an open shot just to the left of the post. With St. Paul’s playing back, Lafayette’s offense finally got going late in the second half. The Lions had their best opportunity to level up the score off a corner kick in the 72nd minute, However, that shot sailed right at the goal, but no other Lion player was able to come up and finish the shot in front of the goal.
“(We) came out flat in the first 10, 15 minutes. They scored in the ninth minute and that was it,” Lafayette head coach Josh Vidrine said. “We made one mistake and they scored on it. Then in the second half we couldn’t put the few opportunities we created away.”
St. Paul’s coach Sean Moser lauded the play of his defense.
“I thought we defended well,” Moser said. “They have a couple seniors up top who are very quick and we shut them down.”
The Wolves now can look forward to facing Jesuit in the final for the third time.
“Three years in a row,” Moser said. “(Jesuit) is technical and fast. So we’ll probably be underdogs again but we’re fine with that.”
Robinson’s goal was his sixth of the playoffs. ... Two players got yellow cards, St. Paul’s Davis Neitzchman in the 65th minute and Lafayette’s John Plumbar in the 68th.
... The student section was moved from its normal position on what is normally the visitors’ sideline for football games during the third minute of the game to the home grandstands to accommodate the large crowd for the night, walking behind the goal St. Paul’s was defending in the first half to get to the normal home side of the field.