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St. Thomas Aquinas edges out JFK

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Kennedy’s Evan Economos, left, and Aquinas’ Marcus Miller collide during JFK’s 2-1 loss.

WARREN — Despite a flurry of shots in the last few minutes, John F. Kennedy couldn’t capitalize to tie the game, falling to St. Thomas Aquinas, 2-1.

Even though the team lost, Eagles coach Matt Horvatich liked the way his team played.

“I thought it was a great game,” Horvatich said. “I thought both sides competed hard. We got a little unlucky. The result isn’t what we wanted, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

The two teams were scoreless for around 20 minutes until Aquinas defender Tristan Johnson got the ball past Eagles keeper Bobby Plizga to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.

Just shy of 3 minutes in the second half, sophomore forward for Aquinas Joe Simonetti got a goal off a header to give the Knights a 2-0 lead. They would continue to pepper Plizga with shots the entire match. Plizga ended the game with 24 saves.

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Rajha Bradley (right) of John F. Kennedy battles Mitchell Brown of St. Thomas Aquinas for the ball.

With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Eagles senior Tim Klaben got Kennedy on the board, with a goal assisted by Evan Economos to close the gap to one.

In the time left remaining on the clock, Kennedy’s offense surged. The Eagles controlled the pace for the majority of the time, but failed to score. With 10 seconds left in the game, the Eagles charged down the field but were stopped by an Aquinas defender before Kennedy could get a shot off.

“There was a sense of urgency with our team,” Horvatich said. “I liked how they didn’t give up, they kept fighting. Even when we went down 2-0 they kept it together, they kept their composure. We fought. We got one back. We had a couple chances, but it just didn’t go our way this time.”

Going forward, Horvatich sees a lot for his team to build upon. He thinks if they keep playing the way they did Thursday the wins will come.

“I saw a lot of good stuff from our team,” Horvatich said. “We moved the ball. We used our width. I was happy to see us put one in. I think that if we play this well next time or play this hard for our next game. We’ll get the result we want.”

Staff photo / Brian Yauger Tim Klaben (left) of John F. Kennedy gets past Colin Brown of St. Thomas Aquinas.

With seven games left on the schedule, Horvatich sees a solid foundation with his team that he’d like to build on with the rest of their schedule. The Eagles play Campbell Memorial on Sept. 19.

“The key going into our next game is building off what we had here,” he said. “Keep putting pressure on the ball, stringing passes together and using our width to open up space for our team.”

The Eagles (0-8) look to get their first win on the road against the Red Devils before going down to Louisville for a rematch against Aquinas.

“We’re going down to play at their place, and I feel like we can come out on top this time,” Horvatich said.

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