La Salle claims District 12 title
La Salle senior defender Joseph Brigidi was looking across the field, trying to find who he was supposed to congratulate and celebrate with.
Not even five minutes in to Thursday night’s District 12 4A boys’ soccer final withNortheast, a corner kick by Brigidi had led to a La Salle goal. The ball hadmade a lot of noise going into the net and the left back figured someone had knocked it in.
As Northeast fished the ball out of the net, the official pointed to Brigidi and he was the one getting swarmed.
His quick goal, coupled with a dominant second half, led La Salle to its second trophy of the week as the Explorers topped the Vikings 5-1 to win their second straight district title.
“When they started to pick up their intensity, we knewwe hadto pick up ours,” Brigidi said. “When they got their goal (in the second half), it really woke us up and we got down the line more and put pressure on them.”
The senior fullback doesn’t score often, but he’s one of La Salle’s best set piece takers and provides good service, as his assist on the game’s second goal showed. However, Thursday night’s accomplishment of scoring directly off a corner, also known as an Olimpico, was a first for Brigidi.
“The keeper cheated out pretty much to the six so I thought, we run a goal-line play where we try to put the ball right on the keeper on the line so I gave it a go and it happened to go in,” Brigidi said. “I don’t really care about scoring much, but it did feel good.”
La Salle only led 1- 0 at half, but had a handful of chances. The Explorers knew the Public league champions were a good side, having beaten them back in September, and were anxious to put together a robust performance heading into states.
Northeast, which also qualified for states, has a wealth of speed and creative players up top and senior right back Chris Marzullo said the Explorers’ defense had to stay tight and cut off channels. On top of that, La Salle couldn’t let Northeast seize any momentum playing on its home pitch with a good crowd behind it.
Brigidi sent a looping ball into the box early in the second half that found its way down to Christian Calabretta, who tapped it in to put La Salle up 2-0. Northeast, which came out of the half with a lot of energy, sliced the lead back down to one four minutes later when Alejandro Giraldo volleyed in a shot with 27:50 left.