Elk County Catholic won the Elk County Soccer Tournament with a 3-0 win over St. Marys in the championship game Saturday afternoon at Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School.
"I think we came out strong," Elk County Catholic coach Adam Bailey said. "We seemed to be direct and straight to where we needed to be early on. But the game shows we still have lots of things to do. I'm happy for St. Marys, we play them every year, it's always a strong game to play St. Marys. You cannot take them lightly. We were fortunate this year, in other years, we haven't been."
Jake Herbstritt scored two goals for the Crusaders in the victory. Herbstritt scored a fancy goal in the first 10 minutes to extend ECC's lead to 2-0 after the Crusaders had already struck for an earlier goal. Herbstritt was able to make a run in the middle of the field, chipped the ball over the St. Marys goalkeeper who had ran out to cut off the ball and buried the ball in the back of the net to make the lead 2-0 barely 10 minutes into the game.
"Everybody likes to start off quickly," Bailey said. "It allows you to change the pace, the way you play the game. We happened to be fortunate to be successful. It doesn't always happen that way. We capitalized on what we were given, I guess."
St. Marys coach Russ Micale said the soccer in the first half was strong on both ends and he was pleased with the play of the Dutch.
"The first half we played well," Micale said. "Soccer-wise, a very good first half from both teams. We played well, we passed well that first half."
Herbstritt's second goal of the match came on a header off of a corner kick near the midway point of the second half, stretching the lead to 3-0. Micale said the teamwork for the Dutch was not as good in the second 40 minutes.
"The second half, we just didn't show up," Micale said. "We just played the ball forward, didn't keep any possession and didn't play as a team, didn't play as a unit and that's where we ended up."
Micale said the early deficit did lead the Dutch to start pressing and moving forward moreso.
"I think that was part of the problem in the second half," Micale said. "We were already down 2-nil and they just had too much of a forward mindset to score. We just needed to spread it out a little bit more, get our passing game going and we didn't."
Bailey said the team is still progressing with the season just a week old.
"We're still trying to figure out who's comfortable where and how they're progressing," Bailey said. "The teams in general seem to be getting there slowly. I think there are a lot of things with positional play and skill. It's still very early in the season."
Jake Herbstritt and Ben Cappiello of ECC earned All-Tournament Team honors along with Gideon Woelfel of St. Marys, Tad Pierce of Ridgway and Zebb Zilcosky of Johnsonburg.
Ridgway won 4-1 in the consolation game over Johnsonburg in the game held before the championship.