With the final seconds ticking away in Monday’s Class 2A West Section 1 final, defender John Pavlick retreated toward Adam Zimmerman, Century’s goalkeeper, and congratulated his teammate on a job well done.
Pavlick walked with a bit of a limp, the likely result of surviving a battle against a county opponent. South Carroll faced the Knights at Western Regional Park, but more often than not the Cavaliers had to use their sticks and bodies to try and separate the ball from a Century player.
The Knights won the possession battle too, and came out on top 13-3 to advance to the regional final.
Century (14-2) won for the ninth time in the last 10 games, and this one was a balanced effort. Jalen Stanton had four goals and Brett Kropinski netted three, with Brady Crumbacker scoring two.
The Knights flexed their muscles on defense as well — they’re allowing less than five goals per game — and shut out South Carroll in the fourth quarter.
“I”m really proud of the defense,” said coach Jeremy Benson, who considers himself a defensive-minded guy. “The way that ‘Zim’ played, and the way that the middies bought in … they dug deep, didn’t give up many fast breaks.”
Adam McCarty scored midway through the first quarter to put the Cavaliers on the board, but Century responded with five consecutive goals. Benjamin Hart ended the Knights’ run when he scored with 26 seconds to go before halftime, and SC trailed 6-2 at the break.
Evan Hock, South Carroll’s senior goalie, did his best to keep his team in the game. Hock collected 19 saves, but the Knights got enough shots by him to build a sizeable lead.
Drew Downing, a junior midfielder, also played well in the face-off “X” for the Cavaliers (9-7), who reached the sectional final by beating Oakdale 9-8 on the road Saturday night. Brett Finzel scored the game-winner for SC in the final minute in Ijamsville.
“Last year we … only won five games,” said Cavs coach Brad Widner. “We’re still a young team. I think we surpassed our own expectations. I think we spent a lot of time trying to come together as a team.”