Cardinal Gibbons boys soccer continued to prove it can win on any level. A year removed from a 3A state championship win over Foard, the Crusaders are tearing through the 4A bracket, picking up their ninth straight win in the Eastern quarterfinals, defeating Enloe 4-0 Thursday night.
The Crusaders received a stellar showing from their defense, who haven’t allowed a goal since Oct. 19.
“Any time the other team doesn’t score, you always have a chance to win,” Cardinal Gibbons coach Tim Healy said. “Our defense has done a really good job of working together and talking.”
Enloe coach Drew Womble declined comment for himself and his players.
Gibbons didn’t take long to get its offense in sync, as Luke Ristema knocked the one-timer in from the top of the 18-yard box to put the Crusaders up 1-0 nine minutes in.
“Getting that first goal really helped with our confidence, you could tell they were trying to weather the storm,” Healy said.
Eleven minutes later, Jack Donovan called his own number, launching the right-footed shot straight into the top right corner to double the Crusaders’ lead to 2-0.
The first half scoring outburst could’ve done much more damage if not for the play of Enloe goalkeeper Emir Servim, who recorded five close-range saves in the first 40 minutes.
Servim continued to keep the Eagles in the match, keeping the scoreline stagnant for the ensuing 46 minutes despite an onslaught of shots from Gibbons. In the 66th minute, Jacob Pleasants notched his tenth goal of the season as Crusaders extended their lead to 3-0.
Jack Zarnik would add on to the lead with five minutes to go, chipping the ball over Servim to conclude the Gibbons scoring run at 4-0.
The Crusaders received goals from four different players, something Pleasants says is crucial to the team’s success.
“It shows we play well as a team and anyone can score on any given day,” Pleasants said. “We have so many options.”
Healy isn’t surprised that his Crusaders are continuing to experience success in their first season of 4A play in the PAC-6.
“I’m not surprised, every year we play 4A teams on a consistent basis, it’s just a question of if we can do it consistently,” Healy said.
Pleasant agrees, saying, “It’s nice to show everyone no matter what level it is, we can compete with anyone in the state.”
Gibbons will look to earn a trip to the eastern finals when they host No. 23 New Hannover on Saturday.