There was no charm for the Parkview Baptist School’s boys soccer team when it took a third try at defeating Division III, District 7 rival Episcopal High Saturday night.
The stakes were higher this time, but the Eagles fell behind by three goals at halftime and went on to drop a 3-1 decision to Episcopal in semifinal playoff action at Parkview.
With the win, No. 2 seed Episcopal (21-6-1) advances to next week’s championship game. The Knights will square off with Newman, a 2-1 winner over University High, in the other semifinal at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“I’m really pumped up for the team, and anybody that’s played for Episcopal,” EHS coach Chris Stewart said of his team‘s championship game berth. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Parkview (12-8-2) began with a spirited effort and controlled the action for the first 10 minutes, when it had two shots on goal. Neither shot found the net, and Episcopal eventually settled in.
The Knights got three goals in a 10-minute span to take control. William James began the scoring with an 11th-minute goal, and Austin Couvillion added two more.
Parkview was only able to counter with Truman Loupe’s goal in the final minute.
“I’m proud of our boys,” Parkview coach Roger Charcap said. “We were down 3-0 at halftime to a team that’s blown us out twice this year, and we fought.
“We honestly felt that if we didn’t make any mistakes, we could get back in the game.”
Parkview keeper Nick Kirsch had six saves, while Episcopal’s Erol Knaus finished with five.
Parkview nearly broke through for a first half goal in the fourth minute after generating a corner kick. Following a scuffle in front of the goal, Knaus stopped Joseph Guercio’s sliding kick from just in front of the goal.
Episcopal got its first goal when James chased down a slow bouncing ball in the penalty box. The ball got past Kirsch as he and James briefly collided, and James was able to walk the ball to the goal for the game’s first score.
“I thought their goalie made two phenomenal saves to keep it 0-0, and then we went down,“ Charcap said. “We had a miscommunication on the first goal.”
Episcopal’s Adam Clausen took a hard tackle in the 17th minute, and Couvillion took advantage placing his free kick from 30 yards out just under the crossbar and over the hands of Kirsch.
Couvillion added his second goal four minutes later, maneuvering around a defender to place a one-on-one shot to the left side of the net.
“It took us a while to get into the match, but once we established ourselves, I thought we did a great job of maintaining that,” Stewart said.
Parkview was unable to crack the Knights’ defense for most of the second half. Knaus made a diving block of a Parkview shot in the 48th minute.
Six minutes later, Parkview’s Daniel Myers centered the ball to Aysar Sheikha, whose header grazed the crossbar before sailing over the goal.
Episcopal’s win sets up a showdown between the top two seeds in the Division III playoffs.
“We’re excited about the opportunity,” Stewart said. “Number two seed versus number one. I guess the coaches got it right. We knew when we got our ranking we were expected to be there, and luckily we did what we had to do.”
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