Holy Trinity boys advance to regional semifinals after 2-1 win over All Saints Academy
Holy Trinity goalkeeper Ricky Berthiaume goes high to make a save during Friday's Class 1A regional quarterfinal.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
Not this time.
That was the collective feeling of the players on the Holy Trinity boys soccer team heading into Friday’s Class 1A regional quarterfinal against All Saints Academy.
A year ago, the Tigers opened the state playoffs with a dud of a performance and saw their season come to an unexpected, disappointing end.
On Friday … well, it certainly wasn’t the kind of game they were happy with, but it was good enough. And in the state playoffs, good enough is all that matters.
Joye Oni scored the game-winner off a corner kick from Nico Rousseau in the second half and Holy Trinity defeated All Saints 2-1 to advance to the regional semifinals.
In the process, the Tigers – particularly their 13 seniors -- were able to erase the memory of last year’s loss to Lakeland Christian.
“I think everyone kind of had that in their minds,” sophomore Carlo Campanini said. “They knew they weren’t going to let that happen again. I’m glad we came out the way we did.”
The Tigers (16-2-2) will travel to Lakeland on Tuesday to face Santa Fe Catholic (15-2-3) in the regional semifinals. Santa Fe Catholic defeated The Pine School 3-2 in its opening-round game.
Heavy rain Thursday night forced the Holy Trinity-All Saints game to be postponed after just over eight minutes of play. Action was resumed Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.
“It definitely wasn’t our best game,” Tigers coach James Phillips said. “It’s a tough game, the first game in regionals. And then having the rainout (Thursday) night and having to come back out (Friday) … we started off the first half very sloppy.
“But to be fair to them, in the second half, they performed much, much better.”
Carlo Campanini gave Holy Trinity a 1-0 lead in the first half after working a nice give-and-go with Rousseau (who had two assists), but All Saints would come back to tie the score up at the half as the Tigers tried to get a little more life into their game.
“I feel like we definitely had more energy (Thursday) night,” senior goalkeeper Ricky Berthiaume said. “Today, it was a lot harder to get going, especially starting from a goal kick. It just felt weird.
“We got up and then the energy just dropped. It was harder playing in the daytime, which we’re not used to as well. Last night felt a lot more hyped.”
Some of that second half energy, Phillips said, came from a bicycle kick attempt by senior Luca Campanini.
While the shot wasn’t good, it breathed some life into Holy Trinity and keyed its improved second half performance.
As the team’s returned from their water break midway through the second half, Holy Trinity players could be heard encouraging their teammates to give it everything they had.
If getting through the first round was a test, the Tigers passed. But they know they will have to lift their game on Tuesday.
“We were still able to pull it off after a performance that I don’t think was good enough,” Berthiaume said. “We need to pick it up for the next game if we’re going to move on.”
With 13 seniors -- Alex Hernandez-Pryszlak, Barrett Hess, Brandon Boyd, Gabriel Soh, Luca Campanini, Joshua Moisand, Justin Ganiban, Matt Austin, Jore Oni, Joye Oni, Nico Rousseau, Noah Benjamin and Berthiaume – plus talented younger players like Carlo Campanini, the Tigers certainly aren’t lacking in talent or confidence.
After all, this is a team that came into the season with high hopes, and the big prize is still dangling right in front of them.
“We know our quality,” Carlo Campanini said. “We know we’re a team that can go far. You don’t want to get over your head. I think everyone is kind of down to earth in that kind of manner, but I think we know that this is the year.”