Notre Dame Loses Grip, St. Francis Wins, 3-2
For the first 65 minutes of Notre Dame High’s game against St. Francis, the Knights dictated play and seemed to be cruising into a final for the first time.
Relaxed and confident, the Knights eased up and allowed the Golden Knights to score twice and tie the score.
Enter Luke Postlewaite, a sophomore from St. Francis, who was the water boy last season, held out because of Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease in his knees.
With under three minutes remaining Postlewaite took his first shot of the game, scored the first goal of his high school career and lifted St. Francis to a 3-2 victory in a Southern Section Division IV semifinal game on a rainy Tuesday at Notre Dame.
“I was the team manager last year,” Postlewaite said. “I had to watch us go to Estancia and lose [in last season’s semifinals]. I was just thinking I wanted to get us into the final.”
Postlewaite’s winning goal came in the 77th minute after a Notre Dame defender cleared the ball out of the penalty area following a St. Francis corner kick.
“The ball just came out and I wanted to put it right back in,” Postlewaite said. “I was kind of half lucky to get to it. I could have slipped or the ball may have skipped past me.”
The Golden Knights (22-5), who won a Southern Section title in 1996, play Diamond Ranch in Saturday’s championship game.
A St. Francis comeback looked improbable until the 67th minute, when Donovan Schuil took a pass from Ryan Shaw and scored to cut Notre Dame’s lead to 2-1.
The key for the Golden Knights was adjusting to the field.
Notre Dame (16-9-1) played smart on the wet, soggy field, sticking to sending long balls instead of fighting the poor field conditions and trying to string passes together.
Jimmy Sharp scored the first goal after a direct kick from Paulo Rossi in the 16th minute.
Kevin Murray made it 2-0 when he ran onto a long pass that skipped through the defense in the 37th minute.
The Golden Knights didn’t realize short passes weren’t going to get them anywhere on the sloppy field until late in the game.
“Our learning is a little slow, but we caught on,” said Coach Glen Appels of St. Francis, whose team lost to Notre Dame, 5-1, and defeated the Knights, 2-0, during Mission League play.
“We thought we had better skills and we wanted to knock the ball around.”
Shaw tied the score, 2-2, when he broke through the defense and beat goalkeeper Chris Alexander in the 71st minute.