Dallas Soccer DFW

Nolan boys win ninth state championship

Published 2/23/2012 2:20:07 PM by nico van thyn from fort worth

Michael Egenti knows what he’s doing, whether it’s on a football field or a soccer field. And wherever he shows up, Nolan Catholic wins a TAPPS state championship. A defensive end for Nolan’s title-winning team last fall, Egenti dominated the TAPPS Division I boys soccer title game Wednesday night, with a foot in all three goals of the Vikings’ 3-1 victory against district-rival Plano John Paul II. It’s a repeat championship for Nolan (18-2-2), which was the only team John Paul II (13-2-4) lost to this season, and the ninth state boys soccer title in school history for the Vikings.


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In a game delayed four days after weekend rain in San Antonio forced a postponement, the Vikings clearly were the better team in the third meeting of the teams this season. And Egenti, at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, stood out in size and in talent. He scored the game’s first goal in the 17th minute, using his strength to outfight a John Paul II defender for possession of the ball and then managing just enough of a touch to ease the ball into the left corner of the goal.

He had assists on two second half goals — in the 52nd minute when he gathered in a long pass and flicked a feed to left winger Zach Phipps, who rammed a low shot home into the left corner, and with a more spectacular play in the 60th minute. With his back to the goal, Egenti lofted a left-footed pass to Ryan Gonzalez, who drilled the goal. The sequence began on a pass from the left side from Phipps to Egenti.

“What an athlete; he has been brilliant — brilliant all year,” Nolan coach Adam Clementson said. “People don’t give him the respect he deserves because he has such a good touch. We can’t play the way we play without him... If he played soccer the year-round, he could do something. There’s no doubt about it.”

But Egenti won’t be playing college soccer — he’s headed for a football scholarship at Sul Ross State.  However, he said he’s played soccer since he was 5 and “it’s been my No. 1 sport. I started playing football once I came to Nolan, but I played soccer all four years here and I’ve loved it. I’ve loved playing with these guys, and it’s been a blessing... I’m better at football, but I love soccer, and it’s because of these guys.”

And these guys provided a lot of help. With Barton Holdridge and Gonzalez controlling most of the play in midfield, Nolan had the majority of the good chances to score.

“We missed some opportunities,” Clementson said. “I don’t think anyone could have complained if it it had been 4-1 or 5-1. We kept them in the game some.”

But the Vikings’ defense rarely was challenged. John Paul II had few chances, although Robbie Guzman and others applied pressure at times. But it was a shutout until Adrian De La Pena converted in a mad scramble with only 1:48 remaining.

“Our three central midfield players (Trevor Baum, Tony Cuccarese and Gonzalez) locked down their best players,” Clementson said. “They’re a good team; they worked very hard, but take nothing away from our boys, they were brilliant... Our defense was brilliant all year. That’s what enabled us to get here. Lots of credit to our back four. They’ve been outstanding.”

John Paul II suffered a bad break early when defender Jordan Reisman had to leave the game after goalie J.W. Dillard, punching away a Nolan shot, also caught Reisman in the jaw. The player was taken to a nearby hospital.

With the victory, Nolan Catholic completed a 2-0-1 edge in the season series. John Paul II’s only previous defeat this year was by 2-1 to Nolan on last month. The teams tied 1-1 in the season’s first meeting Jan. 5 when the Vikings scored a late goal.

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