In a season that many people outside of the Springfield Catholic boys soccer program billed as a “rebuilding year” the Irish fell just short to very strong John Burroughs Bombers side 2-0 in the MSHSAA Class 1 championship match on Saturday in Blue Springs, MO. After defeating St. Pius X (Kansas City) 2-0 on Friday in the State semi-final match, with Senior goalkeeper Drew Rash recording his 19th shutout on goals from Senior forward Ryan Randell (assisted by Junior Duncan Strang) and Junior Blake Weber (assisted by Senior Landon Green), the Irish had a chance to become only the 5th team in the 46 year history of MSHSAA championship soccer competition to with 3 state titles in a row.
On a frigid day in suburban Kansas City where temperatures stayed well below the freezing point, the Irish won the coin toss and elected to play into the strong north wind in the first half. With a defensive minded shape that left Senior Ryan Randell as the lone forward and had Junior Gabe Straus assigned to man-mark the Bombers most dangerous threat, Stephen McMillian the Irish successfully defended numerous John Burroughs attacks for the first 30 minutes of the first half. The bombers were successful in breaking through the Irish defense with just under 10 minutes left in the first half as the Irish were unable to clear a corner kick from in front of their goal and the Bombers found the lower left corner of the Irish goal to take a 1-0 first half lead.
With the cold north wind now at their backs, the Irish opened the second half in a more offensively minded 4-4-2 shape and immediately created several dangerous scoring opportunities. Although the Irish had the better of the play for most of the second half on several near miss attacks, they were unable to find the equalizer before giving up a second goal to the Bombers. Down 2-0 and with time running out on their 2013 championship run, the Irish displayed incredible fortitude for the rest of the match. Every man on the Irish side played to the final whistle with an effort that was only matched once in the 2013 season one week earlier in their double over time quarter final comeback win at Sedalia Sacred Heart. Despite the disappointment of falling short of the championship, the Irish finished the match with incredible dignity that displayed for all who were watching the true character of this team, the Irish soccer program and Springfield Catholic High School. Well done boys! You have much to be proud of.
Follow the links below for several media reports on the Final Four.