Eric Schemitsch had run past two Fordham Prep defenders and looked up at the Belson Stadium scoreboard to make his next decision. The Regis senior midfielder knew exactly what to do in the waning seconds of the second half.
Schemitsch sealed the game with 2.8 seconds left with a goal to help Regis capture its first CHSAA Class AA boys' soccer Intersectional title Sunday night in a 3-1 win over rivals Fordham Prep at St. John’s University in Queens.
“I saw the clock running from 10 to zero and I knew I didn’t have to put it in, but I saw it was a nice cherry on top to clinch the championship,” Schemitsch said.
Colin Hall and Jack Baldwin each scored a goal to help Regis add to the trophy cabinet this season with its first city title and the Archdiocesan championship that was also won October 25 over Fordham Prep. And the victory meant a lot more since the Rams earned the 2016 Intersectional title in penalty kicks over the Raiders.
“All credit to Fordham Prep they are a great team," Regis coach Vinny Catapano said. “Getting the city championship and against Fordham is a big monkey off our backs all at once and it’s a great thing for us.”
The postseason for Regis (15-4-3) continues next Friday night in the CHSAA state semifinals in a matchup against St. Francis Prep at St. John’s University starting at 7 p.m. The prior state semifinal game features NSCHSAA champions Chaminade against either Monsignor Martin Association representatives Canisius or St. Joseph Collegiate.
The teams met for the eighth time in the past two seasons and their familiarity with one another played a part going into the game. But like in recent results, Regis was able to strike first.
Regis was able to get on the board with their first proper scoring chance as Shane Ross unleashed a cross in the box to find an unmarked Hall, who took one touch to strike the net in the 10th minute for a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders took a 1-0 halftime lead and held on in the second half as Fordham Prep rediscovered it’s quick ball movement that propelled them to a semifinal win over St. Francis Prep.
Yet Regis goalkeeper Andrew Ceonzo and the backline of Geraoid Kennedy, Sean Stix, Alan Clancy and senior Matteo Palacardo held firm against waves and waves of Fordham Prep pressure towards their net.
Jack Baldwin, who returned to the lineup this week after missing a majority of games due to a sprained ankle and hamstring, settled a pass from Schemitsch inside the Rams 18-yard box and scored for a 2-0 Regis lead in the 74th minute.
“Having him back and him getting there, it was a clutch moment,” Catapano said. “We needed the guy. He has senior experience, captain. He came through in the clutch.”
Regis was not able to relax just yet. James Murray delivered a long free kick to the box that settled on the feet of Brendan Frawley as the senior defender lunged his shot into the net to slice the deficit to 2-1 in the 75th minute. But ultimately for the Rams (13-4-2), it proved too little too late.
“We got scored on and they got shocked. I think we just got flat,” Fordham Prep coach Pete McNamara said. “I thought we passed the ball better the other night an we was off. And they force you off because they hustle. Good for them and they won the game.”
Schemitsch spoke in a pre-game speech to his teammates to remember what got them to Belson for the second straight season and get the prize.
“I told my team last year we was on this very field and I promised that I would put the work in to get back to this field,” Schemitsch said. “Essentially we put the work in and went through injury, through rough patches and basically we were able to rise and finally get the chip.”