(Photo Courtesy of St. Xavier High School)
St. Xavier made a clear statement on Wednesday night that they are the best team in the Bluegrass, downing rival Trinity 15-4. The Tigers put the pedal to the metal early on in the contest and never let up, essentially cruising to victory.
The Tigers’ offense realized their clear athletic advantage over the Trinity defense early on and took full advantage. Noah Malubay, who finished with four goals, dusted a Trinity short-stick to earn the Tigers’ first lead of the game under five minutes into the contest and Henry Mercer followed suit soon after, beating his man on a speed dodge on the restart from the end line and stinging the back of the cage.
Just as deadly, was the St. Xavier defense. After allowing just two goals in the first, the Tigers held the Shamrocks scoreless in the second quarter and again allowed only two goals in the second half. Additionally, they were able to shut down Trinity’s top offensive weapon, Gavin Noland, as much as possible with Jackson Campisano on him most of the night. Noland, unofficially, had one assist in the first half and one goal in the second half, marking one of his lowest offensive outputs this season.
That lone Noland assist was received by Davis Wilmes, who was able to cash in on the feed to get Trinity some momentum midway through the first quarter and make it a one-goal, 3-2, game. It would be the Rocks’ last goal of the first half. Owen Francia scored Trinity’s first goal of the game just seconds into the contest.
Up 6-2 heading into the second quarter, St. Xavier continued to dominate on both ends of the field and stretched their lead to 10-2 at the half. They continued the same trend in the second half of play, taking a 14-3 lead at the end of the third and taking home the win 15-4.
In addition to Malubay’s four goals, Ben Hubbs netted a hat trick for the Tigers. Henry Mercer and Ethan Puffer each had two goals.
St. Xavier moves to 4-1 on the season while Trinity moves to 3-3 following Wednesday’s contest. Next up for the Tigers is a matchup with Montgomery Bell (Tenn.) on the road on Saturday before hosting national power IMG Academy next Thursday. Trinity is off for Spring Break before traveling to face Cincinnati St. Xavier on April 13th.
These two teams will likely meet KSLL state title game on May 14th. Christian Academy plays host to the semifinals and finals this season.