Tigers hoping for deep postseason run


Nov. 11, 2014, Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy -- The Tigers may have lost top scorer Evan Enders to graduation, but the Tigers have already shown they have plenty of players willing to step up and put the ball in the back of the net. Holy Trinity is looking to repeat as district champs.

Photo by Carl Kotala

With every game they play, the Holy Trinity boys soccer team seems to be answering the biggest question mark that surrounded them coming into this season:

With prolific scorer Evan Enders having graduated, where is the bulk of the offense going to come from?

“The whole team this year is going to have to pitch in with goals,” Tigers coach James Phillips said. “We’ll need some from our midfielders and on set plays our defenders are going to have to come up from the back and get on the end of a few of those.

“Obviously, it’s not going to be as easy to rely on Evan to score goals this year. It’s going to be more of a team effort.”

Through the early part of the season, that effort was sure paying off. Holy Trinity scored 25 goals in its first four games as it got off to a 3-0-1 start.

The Tigers were getting solid play from junior attacking midfielder Luca Campanini, along with junior forward Matt Austin, a transfer from Rockledge High. 

Austin certainly proved he can have a big impact for the Tigers. He scored six goals — all in the second half — during a victory against Florida Air Academy. Carlo Campanini, a freshman, scored eight goals in those first four games.

Other key players include junior center back Noah Benjamin (who also scored against FAA) and senior goalkeeper Tony Morelli.

With only two seniors (Stephan Rotolante is the other senior) and 12 juniors the Tigers are built for success both now and for the future.

“We’re growing for next year, definitely, but this year we also feel pretty good about our shot,” Benjamin said.

The Tigers would like nothing better than to get further than last year’s team, which went 23-2 but lost in the regional semifinals to the Pine School — a team they had beaten three times earlier in the season.

Holy Trinity will have to go through the Pine School — and five other schools — to claim another district title this season. But as they have already proven, the Tigers will be a tough matchup for any opponent, especially on the offensive end.

“We have a lot of good ballhandlers,” Benjamin said. “We’re looking pretty dangerous.”

If the younger Tigers can mature and Holy Trinity’s defense holds up, there is no reason to think they can’t make a strong postseason run.

This is a group that has pretty much grown up together. It should be interesting to see what it can accomplish as it prepares to take the next step together.

“Apart from Austin, most of the players have been in the program since junior high,” Phillips said. “I’m excited to see what they produce this season.”