Irish slip, Flashes fall in opener

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Michael Strickland of St. Aloysius slips past Greenville-St. Joe’s Jonathan Artman, who watches from the ground. Also looking on is Jon Borgognoni. The Fighting Irish won the season-opener for both teams, 4-2. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

St. Aloysius started strong but Greenville-St. Joe finished stronger as the Irish lived up to their name and won the season-opener for both teams, 4-2.

Michael Strickland put the Flashes ahead just two minutes into the game, and Michael Head’s penalty kick gave St. Al a 2-1 lead at the half.

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But Trey Towles booted in a pair of goals in the first five minutes of the second half, and Todd McGee lofted one in from just inside midfield to seal it.

“Greenville just upped their game,” St. Al coach Shirley Agostinelli said. “We didn’t play as sharp in the second half.”

Agostinelli said she saw some good things and bad things as she rotated players from position to position, trying to find a combo to replace top defenders Robert Head and Blake Andrews from last season’s 11-5-1 squad.

“We had some players that were disgruntled about their positions,” she said. “We … lost it at midfield. I think we’re going to be OK offensively though.”

It looked like that at the beginning. Patrick Sadler pushed a ball over the top from midfield and Strickland raced ahead of the defense for a quick score.

St. Joe’s Beck Barnes answered at the 10-minute mark to tie it. Michael Head then broke away but was tripped by goalkeeper Martin Crawford, who was yellow-carded. Head scored easily against fill-in keeper Chris Jennings on the penalty kick.

St. Joe’s Morgan Henry got a yellow card near the end of the half.

“I told them to beat them to the ball, to play aggressive,” said first-year St. Joe coach Leta Crawford, who inherited a team the went to the final four of the Class 1A playoffs. “I think from the end of the first half and the second half, we dominated.”

St. Joe picked up three of its four yellows in the second half, including two by Henry, who was ejected. St. Al was carded once.

With St. Joe up 3-2, St. Al keeper Andy Gough came out to stop a breakaway against Towles. Head then sent a cross-kick to Beau Theobald, who was pushed in the box by Crawford. There was no call.

Gough later made a diving save on a one-on-one with Barnes before leaping to knock another shot over the crossbar.

After McGee’s long shot grazed Gough’s fingertips and went in the goal to make it a two-goal game, St. Al just missed on two attempts from the box. Michael Engle’s bicycle kick and a Head shot fell just short of the net.