The Chaminade Red Devils meet an familiar opponent in the Class 4 high school boys soccer semifinal game.
The Red Devils (24-2-1) will play the Rockhurst Hawklets at 4 p.m. Friday (Nov. 14) at Blue Springs South High School. The Hawklets (21-6) are the defending Class 3 state champions. Rockhurst defeated Timberland last fall.
This year, Missouri divided soccer into four classes. So this year will feature the first Class 4 state champion.
Chaminade coach Mike Gauvain knows what his club will be facing.
“Oh yeah, we get to a Final Four and it seems like Rockhurst is there waiting for us,” said Gauvain, who’s team finished second two years ago. “They got us 1998 and ’99. We got them in 2001 and ’06. Chris Lawson is their coach and he’s a good guy. He had a great quality program there.”
Chaminade, ranked No. 1 in Missouri, advanced to the Final Four after defeated Mehlville 3-1 in the quarterfinals. That came on the heels of getting past St. Louis University High in the district final and Vianney in the sectional.
“We had a tough start against Mehlville,” Gauvain said. “We finally got going after 10 or 15 minutes. We were at home and we had a huge, huge crowd that was really into the game.
“I like the way our defense played. We kept them away from the goal. We got numbers from our forwards and we created a lot of chances and scored a few. When you do that and put a few away in goal you will win. We scored some quality goals and got the win.”
The Red Devils may have been pressing a little in the game.
“I think we had some pressure on us,” Gauvain said. “We’ve had a great season and we knew we were one game away from the Final Four. We had a crowd of about 3,000 watching and they were excited.”
The Hawklets will posed a tough challenge for his club, Gauvain said.
Earlier this season, Rockhurst met Chaminade in a tournament game and scored a 2-1 victory in overtime.
“We’d like to reverse that this time,” Gauvain said. “They’ve got a very good team. It was just their way. I think we could have won that game but we didn’t so we learned from it and moved on.”
“They are the defending state champs. I think there are a lot of guys back from that team, like 12 or 13 kids. So they have experience in the Final Four. This is old hat for his guys. It should be a heck of a game.”
Senior midfielder Ryan Ebert, who has nine goals this fall, is the lone Red Devil who has played in the last Final Four game for Chaminade. He was on the team that lost to CBC in the state championship game two years ago.
Still, Gauvain said he likes his chances against Rockhurst.
Senior goalie Zach Pogue has 11 shutouts this season. Senior Kenny Massa has scored 19 goals and senior Jake Pesek has added 11 goals.
“I think team is ready to go,” Gauvain said. “We’ll go up there Thursday on the bus and we’ll be very relaxed and ready to play Friday. It’s on a neutral field. School is off so our students can come and watch. It’s supposed to be cold but that doesn’t matter.
“They’re playing well right now. We had a hard week beating SLUH, Vianney and Mehlville. That tested us pretty good.”
On the other side of the bracket, Francis Howell Central (22-4-1) plays Lee’s Summit (19-6) at 6 p.m. The two semifinal winners will play at 4 p.m. Saturday for the state championship.
To get there, Gauvain said his Red Devils must play their game.
“Our top guys have to be our top guys and the other guys have to contribute,” Gauvain said. “We’re ready.”
So is Gauvain, who had led the program to three state championships.
“It never gets old for me,” Gauvain said. “There’s been a great buzz around school all week. Everyone is excited. So am I. There’s no pressure. We’re still playing and having fun.”