DANVERS — The St. John’s Prep soccer team knows records and prior results don’t matter when the Eagles match up with a Catholic Conference rival.
Wednesday evening at Cronin Memorial Stadium, St. John’s was given everything it could handle in a 0-0 tie with BC High.
“BC High played great,” St. John’s coach Dave Crowell said. “They played really hard. They made it difficult for us to possess and play our game but we created plenty of chances in each half. A couple of those looks that we didn’t finish came back to bite us. This is a great rivalry. The records are irrelevant when it comes to playing BC High.”
Sophomore goalie Joey Waterman was the star of the game for St. John’s. Waterman recorded eight saves, including a handful of point-blank denials that kept BC High off the scoreboard.
“Joey owned his box, which was huge,” Crowell said. “He didn’t give up any rebounds, no second chances. He didn’t drop anything. He was definitely solid.
“I thought our entire defense played well,” Crowell said. “Particularly our center-backs, Andrew Behling and Griffin Tache, had really good games in the back. I thought our center-mid, Garrison Jorge, played extremely well.”
After a few minutes of back-and-forth play inside the 20-yard lines, St. John’s started to generate looks at BC High’s net. But from the early stages it looked as though the Prep would have to dig deep to get a shot past BC High senior netminder Cooper Robards.
Zach Davis had a nice look at Robards 12 minutes in but Davis’ shot was off the mark. Ethan Ambrosh sprinted his way toward a cross pass 10 minutes later but the timing on the play was a bit off. Jack Hausler sent a shot in Robards’ direction with 4:43 left in the half but Robards made the point-blank save. Robards denied another Ambrosh shot just seconds later.
St. John’s defense held tight on a few BC High free kicks toward the close of the half.
“(At halftime) I felt like we had been creating all the chances,” Crowell said. “We talked about 50-50 balls and we didn’t come through. We also talked about trying to limit their free kicks from midfield, which they had more in the first half than they did in the second. They’re always dangerous on the free kicks and throw-ins. Luckily that didn’t come back to bite us.”
Not much changed in the second half. St. John’s best chance at netting the game-winner came in the final minutes of the game, when Gabriel Najim’s shot hit the post and found its way into Robards’ hands.
The Eagles, who clinched the Catholic Conference title Monday, wrapped their conference schedule at 6-0-2. St. John’s (11-1-2 overall) finishes the regular season with four non-conference tilts, starting with St. John’s of Shrewsbury Saturday morning (10).
From here on out, it’s all about seeding.
“We want to go 4-0,” Crowell said. “We want to get a home game (in the tournament). We have a home and home with St. John’s of Shrewsbury, who’s probably the best team in the Central right now. We have Lowell and Central Catholic. We have some good competition to get us ready in the tournament.
“We want to secure home field advantage for at least one game. There are a couple teams like Lynn English and East Boston who are undefeated. They’re going to get the high seeds. Last year we lost two games and we were the No. 9 seed. We’re trying to avoid that.”