High School Sports

High school soccer: No. 2 Paul Dunbar, No. 1 St. Xavier advance to boys' soccer finals

Saturday's State Soccer Tournament finals at Dunbar High School will be No. 1 vs. No. 2.

The boys' half of the equation was sealed Thursday night with No. 2 Dunbar's 2-0 semifinals win over Henderson County.

Shaquille Guiseppe and Riley Calhoon scored first-half goals 24 seconds apart to spark the Bulldogs.

In the opener, Adam Kirsch scored in each half as defending champion and top-ranked St. Xavier shut out Boone County 2-0.

The Tigers will face Dunbar in the finals, set for Saturday at 7 p.m.

Girls' finals, matching No. 1 Notre Dame versus No. 2 Tates Creek, are scheduled Saturday at 5 p.m.

Dunbar 2, Henderson Co. 0: Guiseppe scored with 8:33 left in the half, breaking in alone and chipping a shot from near the top of the penalty box over keeper Jacob Stauffer and into the net.

Twenty-four seconds later, Matthew Spanyer ran down a ball deep on the right wing. His cross found Calhoon crashing the goal, in stride, for a one-touch winner inside the near post.

The Bulldogs (25-3), who have won their last 10 matches, gave goalie Fernando Ortiz plenty of support along the back line for Dunbar's 16th shutout of the season.

"We've played some pretty high-octane offenses before," center back Nick DiMeo said. "We all work together really well because we've been through it. We've played some good teams."

Although Dunbar outshot the Colonels 10-6, Henderson had some great looks down the stretch.

"I think we did a good job. We had a few instances where we hesitated a little bit, let their men come through the middle," fellow center back Davoud Saghaian said. "But we were able to cover for each other, talk it out and that helped us. And we were confident with Fernando behind us."

Henderson (20-4-2) just missed with under 22 minutes left, when James Bickers rocked the crossbar with a shot.

"Luck," Dunbar Coach Todd Bretz said. "There's the difference — they hit two off the post and our two went in."

DiMeo and Saghaian were flanked by Ignacio Almanza and Caleb Clay.

When a first-half shot slipped out of Ortiz's hands, Clay was backing up the play to clear the ball

"I think we did great," Almanza said. "Just keep this up next game."

Added Clay: "We worked together as a team throughout the game. We've been working in practice really hard to get to this point. ... We're glad to be here."

While St. X will be seeking a second straight title and its fifth in six years, Dunbar will be trying for its first championship since 2005. The Bulldogs also won in 1992 and 2001, and were runners-up in 2003.

"It will be fun," Bretz said. "They're a great team and we just played a great team. We were very fortunate. We just got that one little spurt in there."

St. Xavier 2, Boone Co. 0: Kirsch, a senior striker, scored 27:16 into the match and again at 51:14.

The latter was a boomer from about 35 yards out.

"I saw (goalie Zach Mims) off his line and I just decided to go for it," Kirsch said. "And it worked."

Goalkeeper Zachary Roehrig kept the Rebels (20-4-3) off the board. St. X outshot Boone 8-3.

The Tigers (26-0-2) will have to beat Dunbar on its home field in order to repeat.

"They definitely have an advantage at home," Kirsch said. "But we're going to get some students out as well and, hopefully, make it a nice battle.

"I'm confident in our defense and our whole team. We all have it in us to keep our streak alive."

Dunbar 2, Henderson County 0

Goals—D: Shaquille Guiseppe, Riley Calhoun. Goalkeepers—D: Fernando Ortiz; HC: Jacob Stauffer. Records—D: 25-3; HC: 20-4-2. All-tournament team—Miguel Velazquez, James Bickers (HC).

St. Xavier 2, Boone County 0

Goals—X: Adam Kirsch 2. Goalkeepers—BC: Zach Mims; X: Zachary Roehrig. Records—BC: 20-4-3; X: 26-0-2. All-tournament team—Matt Melzer, Evan Valentine (BC). Att.—1,432.