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Servite tops Loyola to reach Division 1 final
LOS ANGELES — Servite had been here before after a CIF-SS Division 1 semifinal boys soccer match, celebrating a victory against Loyola of Los Angeles.
This time, though, the Friars hope the next chapter of their playoff story has a happier ending.
Servite’s 3-2 triumph over the host Cubs on Tuesday put the Friars in the championship match for the second time in three seasons. The top-seeded Friars (24-2-1) will face No. 3 seed El Toro at a site and time to be determined in the Division 1 final.
Two seasons ago, Servite lost to San Clemente in the CIF-SS championship game.
“Now we have the experience, and that is really something that comes in handy because guys can be nervous and stressed out,” Servite senior team captain JT Cook said. “We have been working all season for this. We are prepared.”
This was the third consecutive year the Friars met Loyola (17-6-4) in the semifinals. Servite has won twice. Last year, the Cubs eliminated Servite on penalty kicks.
“There’s a rivalry,” Servite senior goalkeeper Keith Murphy said. “and that is what got us pumped up.”
Second-half goals from Andrew Acosta and Garrett Amador gave the Friars a 3-1 lead with 15 minutes to go.
Servite coach Jon Spencer said the players dubbed Amador’s “the goal of the season.” After collecting a pass from Kristopher Morgan in the 65th minute, Amador took a shot from 30 yards out, and the ball dipped under the crossbar and into the upper-left corner of the goal.
Roman Manning gave the Friars a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute with his unassisted goal.
“The way they have used their other attributes to build each other up has been awesome,” Spencer said. “This is a brotherhood.”
Evan Watson and Dominique Royall scored two set-piece goals for the fourth-seeded Cubs.
“That is what they came ready to do,” Murphy said, “and they punished us.”
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