A cheering, chanting, student body kept busy Saturday evening willing and encouraging their top-ranked Salesianum team to another tournament victory, and their fourth consecutive DIAA state soccer title.
The Sals accomplished their goal by defeating third-ranked Appoquinimink 5—2 before a packed house at Smyrna High School.
Sallies high-powered, quick, offense had two good scoring opportunities in the early going, but Appoquinimink junior Ryan Moore scored in the 14th minute to give the Jaguars an early 1-0 lead.That was only the third goal the Sals surrendered all season.
Sals junior #26 Jacob Meyer countered with the equalizer in the 15th minute on a left-footed shot just inside the right post.
"It was really important to get the equalizer right away. I was really proud of our guys tonight. We haven't had a ton of adversity this season. We played a lot of tough games, but we handled them well," said Sallies coach Scott Mosier. Mosier added the team's experience was essential to maintaining their composure after falling behind to Appoquinimink.
Salesianum got their first lead in the 24th minute when senior Jason Durnan (15) ripped a shot past Jaguar's goal keeper Chris Stilwell on a feed from Meyer. That score stood up through the first half.
Jaguars showed lots of speed to keep up with top-ranked Sallies. Jags were strong through midfield and in transition to keep Sals from getting numbers on the Appo defenders, but the defending champions had too much fire power on this night.
In the 44th minute, Sallies increased their lead to 3-1 on a goal by Mike DiSabatino. Then Benjamin Yount scored in the 51st minute with the assist going to Meyer.
Instead of sitting back, Appo took some chances to generate some offense, but the strategy was unsuccessful.
A Sallies goal in the 54th minute was ruled off sides and several minutes later Stilwell made several solid saves to keep the Jaguars in the game. Stilwell is only a junior, so he, and many teammates, may have a chance at the title next season.
Appo had a few scoring opportunities, but were unable to get a shot past senior Benjamin Lundgaard, who played a great game in goal for the Sals. The Jags' Sam Jester scored the final goal of the night in the 72nd minute.
Appo coach Adam Bear said despite the loss, he was very proud of his team's effort in the title game and throughout the season. "We played very well in the first half, but when they got their third goal, that changed everything. We pushed numbers forward, and we gave up goals, but that didn't matter at that point, we were trying to score," he said. We were excited to score that first goal, but it would have meant more if we didn't give up a goal a minute or so later. We're only losing three seniors, and we're still a young team, and we finished at 16-2 and state runner-up, so I'll definitely take that for the boys," he said.
Page 2 of 2 - Sallies have now won four titles in a row, after defeating Indian River 4-0 last year in the last unified state championship game. In 2011, Sallies beat arch-rival St. Marks. Overall, the team has won nine of the last ten state championships.