St Dominic senior forward/midfielder Will Faherty and senior forward Jack Stoll have been the “Big Two” for the Crusaders soccer team all season long.
That was never more evident than on Tuesday night as the Crusaders talented pair of front-liners were in top form all night long.
Faherty and Stoll found the back of the goal twice, including Faherty pumping home a goal with just over six minutes left as the Crusaders toppled Fort Zumwalt South for a 2-1 victory in a Class 3 sectional at Fort Zumwalt South.
St. Dominic (15-10-2), which lost to Zumwalt South 4-2 back on Aug. 26, and in the sectionals last year, moves on to play Ladue on Saturday in a Class 3 quarterfinal match up.
“We felt really confident coming in the past couple of games an we just started moving the ball better, switching the field better and I just think that we just had a lot better team effort today,” Faherty said.
“Yeah, we were ready for this one more than any other (game),” Stoll said. “We knew what we wanted to do and we came out running, we got the first goal like we wanted and we took it up from there, kept working hard and it paid off,” Stoll said.
St Dominic’s defense, led by senior defenders, Matt Hennessey, Andrew Luetkenhaus, and Charlie Weston, set up a wall of protection around junior goalie Collin Baker and when Baker needed to, he came up big with some clutch saves in the second half to aid Crusaders cause.
“We have two seniors anchoring our backfield and they did a tremendous job tonight,” St. Dominic coach Greg Koeller said. “We wanted to contain them from getting a lot of shots on goal and for the most part they did that.”
Stoll gave the Crusaders a big first half jolt as he pulled off a heady play at the 19-minute mark. Stoll outworked a Bulldogs defender for a free ball and raced in on South keeper Dylan Bushman and then ripped a hard shot into the lower left side of the goal. Stoll moved to 29 goals on the year with his first-half money-shot.
“I think that since we played them we knew what to do, connect all the passes together and all the pieces together and kin do finish it,” Faherty said.
At 32:07 of the second half, the Bulldogs even the score as Joey Spotanski scored off a perfectly placed header from Joseph Haney. The goal was Spotanski’s team-high 13th of the season.
Then with only 6:15 to go, Stoll fed a slick pass to Faherty, who sneaked in behind the South back line, and popped a shot past Bushman for the eventual game-winner. The goal was Faherty’s 19th of the season.
“The two up top, they have been doing it for us all year,” Koeller said. “Will’s goal was kind of the turning point for us. We needed a lift for us and it put a lot of pressure on them to come back in the waning minutes of the match.”
It was a painful end to the season for Zumwalt South (14-8-1), as the Bulldogs, who made their first trip to the Class 3 tournament last fall, fell two wins short of that goal this season.
“Our goal for tonight was to shut down their two forwards,” Fort Zumwalt South coach Jim Layne said. “They each got one but besides those really two key moments in the game, the really weren’t much of a factor and that was kind of our game plan going in.
“I’m sure when I look back tomorrow I will consider it a success because we were one of the best 16 teams that made it into the state tournament, you’ve got to be proud of what your boys could do.”