Verso glad to be at home

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — For the members of the St. Francis High soccer team, it was good to be back home.

After a 10-match road trip that included stops in West Torrance, San Diego and the San Fernando Valley, the Golden Knights looked to continue a stretch of dominance in their league home opener against Alemany on Monday night. They were able to accomplish that with some help from Mark Verso.

Verso scored a pair of goals and Connor Snashall added one more to lift St. Francis to a 3-0 victory at Friedman Field.

Also of significance was that the Golden Knights (7-6, 3-0 in league) recorded their second straight shutout. They have allowed one goal in three league matches.

"It's good to be able to get back to our homefield," said Verso, who scored in the 29th and 47th minutes to provide the Golden Knights some insurance. "Just having that fan support helped us out and it's always great to play here."

St. Francis last played at home Dec. 3 against Santa Barbara before embarking on a 10-match road journey that concluded with league victories against Harvard-Westlake and Crespi on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. The Golden Knights have won four matches in a row.

The Golden Knights struck early. Snashall, a senior midfielder, secured a throw-in by senior defender Sean Fitzpatrick and beat Alemany goalkeeper Clint Smith to make it 1-0 in the sixth minute.

Verso extended the lead to 2-0 when he took a pass toward the goal from junior forward Billy McCreary and lofted a high shot past Smith in the 29th minute.

Verso capped the scoring when he blasted in a shot off a corner kick from junior midfielder Derek Bell in the 47th minute.

Verso, who raised his goal total to 12, nearly had a hat trick. However, he headed a pass just wide of the left post in the 57th minute.

"There's always a comfort to being able to play at home," St. Francis Coach Glen Appels said. "The key was we had possession of the ball a lot and they have some dangerous players, but our defense did a solid job."

Senior defender Tim Nguyen kept the shutout intact in the 17th minute. Nguyen stopped a shot by Alemany's Arthur Correa after St. Francis senior goalkeeper Hector Carranza was out of position after stopping a shot.

The Golden Knights will next play a league home match at 5 p.m. Friday against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

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