Tigers at top of their game in regional soccer quarterfinals

Marr, Pinto, Lynch and Choi score in 4-1 win over All Saints


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Holy Trinity's MJay Choi (left) celebrates after scoring a goal during Wednesday night's 4-1 win over All Saints Academy in the Class 1A regional quarterfinals.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

In the words of Holy Trinity boys soccer coach James Phillips, it was just the kind of performance from the Tigers he had been waiting for.

Eddie Marr, Alex Pinto, Danny Lynch and MJay Choi all scored for Holy Trinity as the Tigers defeated visiting All Saints Academy 4-1 Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A regional quarterfinals.

The Tigers (12-4-1) will host Lakeland Christian, a 4-0 winner over the Pine School, Saturday night at 7 in the regional semifinals.

You can bet Phillips will be hoping to get another performance from his team like the one he got Wednesday night.

“Everyone stepped up tonight,” Phillips said. “We’ve been waiting for a performance like that, so I’m delighted. Real happy. The boys played against a very good All Saints team that had very good players who we took care of. It was a good night for us.

“We’ve showed spells of this throughout different games, but this was a performance for the whole 80 minutes, which we needed.”

Marr got the Tigers on the board with a penalty kick with 13:11 remaining in the first half.

A minute later, it was Pinto – playing up front instead of his usual position in the back -- who put one home to make it a 2-0 game.

“(Alex) showed something in training that we hadn’t seen before and we thought, you know what, we’ll try him up front,” Phillips said. “He looked like a world beater tonight. It was great.”

For Pinto, the chance to play up front made for a fun night.

“I think this is my first goal playing forward, at least in a major game,” he said.

After All Saints Academy cut the Tigers’ lead in half in the second half, Lynch responded to make it a 3-1 game, then put a beautiful cross into the box that Choi finished off to make it 4-1.

Choi, who said he missed an earlier shot because he put too much of his foot into it, simply tapped this one into an open net … just like every soccer coach would draw it up.

“Danny gave me a perfect pass,” Choi said. “As soon as I saw the ball coming, I was like, ‘I’ve got to put it in.’”

Being in the right place at the right time has been something Choi has been doing for the Tigers all season.

“He does his job. He finishes it,” Pinto said. “He’s right there. He’s where he’s supposed to be.”

And as far as they’re concerned, the Tigers are right where they think they’re supposed to be – in the thick of the playoffs and playing well.

“We’ve been preparing for the regional quarterfinal since day one,” Pinto said. “Basically, this is everything. You get out here, you’re out. There’s no next game. There’s no nothing.

“This is my senior year. For me, this game meant everything.”

Now the Tigers will get Lakeland Christian at home on Saturday night with a chance to get to the regional final on the line. All season long, the players have said it’s their own play and how they do their jobs than who their lining up against.

Saturday night will be no exception.

“We don’t care who the opponent is,” Choi said. “Last year, we were thinking too much about the other teams, like ‘Oh, their back is really good …’ blah-blah.

“I think last year we were panicked from the start of the game. This year, we don’t care who the opponent is. We’re going to get on top of them. We’re going to score and we’re going to win.”