Joshua Schramme (center) scored the match-winning goal for Cardinal Gibbons in the 84th mintue. (photo by Greg Mintel)
By Nate Taylor -- Staff writer
RALEIGH – Here’s our rapid reaction after Cardinal Gibbons defeated Jacksonville 3-2 in overtime Wednesday night in the semifinal round of the NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs:
HOW THE MATCH WAS WON
The Crusaders were really able to get going on offense in the second half. Jacksonville did a better job of possession the ball, but Cardinal Gibbons made the most of their opportunities – something Jacksonville didn’t do in the second half. Each of the Crusaders three goals came off of rebounds because five or six players were in the penalty box fighting to put shot on goal. That pressure led to two goals by midfielder Joshua Schramme and one from midfielder Ryan Zimmerman.
Zimmerman’s goal tied the game at 2-2 in the 63rd minute and from there the Crusaders had all the momentum. They started possessing the ball a lot better and you could tell Jacksonville was struggling to find scoring opportunities once the game was headed to overtime.
STATS OF THE GAME
The Crusaders had three free kicks and three corner kicks, which allowed them to put multiple players in the box to score. On each of Schramme’s two goals, midfielder Robert Liberatore sent the ball into the box on a free kick and a throwing, which allowed Schramme to put foot on the ball and score from close range.
Defender Ryan McAnallen received some praise from coach Tim Healy after the game. Healy saw that McAnallen wasn’t getting nervous after Jacksonville took the lead in the 11th minute and when the Cardinals retook the lead in the 51st minute.
“Ryan was saying calm down,” Healy said. “When your captain is doing that, everyone starts to say if this guy is OK, we’re OK. His presence helped out a lot.”
McAnallen also did a nice job of stopping two scoring chances for the Cardinals with sweeping tackles.
WHAT IT MEANS
Well this will be Cardinal Gibbons (22-1-2) first state final in 3-A after playing many years in 2-A. The Crusaders have now advanced to their fifth state championship match in the last six years, which is pretty remarkable. The Crusaders can also win their fourth state title if they beat Hickory on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Paul Derr Track and Soccer Complex. Jacksonville finishes its season at 25-1-2.