Flashes blast St. Joe 5-0, earn spot in postseason

Published 12:04 pm Friday, January 21, 2011

Only once before this season had St. Aloysius gotten to enjoy a victory celebration.

The second came complete with a water cooler shower for their coach and the hope of more to come.

St. Al hammered Catholic school rival Greenville-St. Joe 5-0 on Thursday night to clinch a spot in the Class 1A-2A-3A playoffs. It was only the second win of the season for the Flashes (2-10, 1-3 Division 7-1A-2A-3A), but they advanced instead of the Irish based on a goal differential tiebreaker with division champion Madison-St. Joe.

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St. Al will start the postseason on the road at Forest on Tuesday night.

“The whole season we only cared about Greenville-St. Joe. That’s all we were pushing for,” said St. Al forward Blake Hudson, who had a goal and an assist on Thursday. “We knew the games we had to win to get in, and we won them.”

St. Al didn’t just need to win Thursday. It needed to win by three goals to even out an 8-4 loss to Greenville-St. Joe on Jan. 4 and progress to the second tiebreaker, goals against the first-place team in the division. St. Al had that edge after Greenville was routed twice by Madison and St. Al lost 6-3 on Tuesday.

Head-to-head tiebreakers are capped at three goals under MHSAA rules.

To not just beat the Irish, but blow them out, the Flashes employed an attacking offense that produced plenty of scoring opportunities. Hall Banks got them on the board with a goal 11 minutes into the game, then Hudson scored one and assisted on another by Will Burnett early in the second half to reach the magic three-goal advantage, at 3-0.

Not wanting to risk a fluky goal or a bad bounce on a muddy pitch, the Flashes kept attacking. Connor Gruenther scored in the 25th minute to make it 4-0, and defender Josh Williams added his first goal of the season in the closing moments of the match.

“When we got the fourth goal, we made a bunch of defensive maneuvers to lock it down,” said St. Al coach Jason Hopkins, who was doused with the water cooler by his players after the game. “The fifth goal was just icing.”