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Snow bodes well for tough St. Franics Prep soccer

TimesLedger Newspapers

The way Chris Joseph sees it, last season could have ended differently if St. Francis Prep had a different mentality. This team might not be as purely skilled as that group, he said, but is tougher — physically and mentally.

On a day like Saturday, that might have made all the difference.

“We have guys that say, ‘Screw the cold, let’s get out there, do the job and let’s go home,’” the Terriers star midfielder said.

St. Francis Prep’s 3-0 win over Xavier in the CHSAA Class AA boys’ soccer intersectional quarterfinals at SUNY Maritime was a bizarre one. There was a driving rain throughout the match. The weather plunged into the 30s and the precipitation became snow in the second half. Fog rolled in from the adjacent water. And worst of all? A swirling wind was whipping assertively, wreaking havoc on play.

“Anything you put on is gonna be wet,” said SFP forward Kenny Redzematovic, who was visibly shivering talking to reporters after the game. “In five, 10 minutes it’s gonna be wet and you’re gonna be carrying five, 10 pounds of extra weight. You really can’t do anything to prevent that.”

The weather was so bad that at halftime of the next game — Iona Prep vs. Christ the King — the would-have-been triple-header was suspended for a later date, likely Monday or Tuesday at a site to be determined. St. Francis Prep (15-0-1) was the lone team to earn a victory on one of the worst October Saturdays in the last 60 years.

Redzematovic was the first to ensure that would happen, beating Xavier keeper James Kondrat, who came off his line, for a goal in the 15th minute. A ball squirted out toward the 18-yard box and Redzematovic and Kondrat both made a beeline for it with Redzematovic winning the race and making a nice move to his right for the game’s first goal.

“Our plan was to finish them early,” Redzematovic said. “I knew I had to get there first. That was it.”

Added Joseph: “It was really huge. It gave us the one goal that we needed. We knew defensively we were a strong team, that we could hold them.”

Redzematovic had another goal in the 71st minute after the rebound from a Lawrence Nikaj shot was saved by Kondrat, who fell to his feet. Jason Gonzalez made it 2-0 St. Francis in the 44th minute. Steven Reid, in net, had the clean sheet for the Terriers.

“We started playing the ball long more,” SFP Coach Franco Purificato said. “Putting three or four passes together wasn’t working.”

Alex Presciutti had a few chances for Xavier (7-6-4) in each half, but the Knights fell in the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

“I think we’re better than last year, because we have more players that want to work,” Joseph said. “Last year we had a lot of skill, but we didn’t have a lot of players who wanted to run and work hard. This year we have a lot more horses, guys who are going to work hard. And the skill is still there.”

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