RULH High School soccer teams face St. Patrick in non-league battles

By Jared MacDonald - Champion Media
Ripley goalkeeper Jaki Royal rises to deflect a St. Patrick shot during the Blue Jays’ Aug. 28 non-league game at Ripley. -

The St. Patrick and Ripley boys’ soccer teams have shown the ability to score early in the season.

The two teams combined for 37 goals in five games entering Tuesday night’s contest in Ripley, but it was the Saints finding the scoring in the second half with three goals to top the Blue Jays, 4-1.

“We suffered a quick goal and it kind of got their head down. Once we tied it up, they started coming around and they started playing their game the way that they know how to play it,” said St. Patrick coach Michael Parsons. “We have 14 guys and most of them played almost a whole game. It just shows a lot of heart and a lot of effort.”

Cesar Briseno, coming off back-to-back hat trick performances against Fleming County and Paris, notched his second goal of the game in the 62nd minute when he found a bouncing ball and put it in the back of the net off of one of the Saints 10 corner kicks in the contest. The goal put St. Patrick ahead, 2-1.

“He’s just willing to take those shots. We’ve got a couple of guys that have probably better shots than him, but they’re reluctant to take shots,” said Parsons. “He’s willing to take those shots. It’s good for him because he’s getting goals.

Ripley’s aggressive style came back to bite them five minutes later while trying to prevent St. Patrick’s lead from growing. A foul in the box ended with an Alain Lopez penalty kick that he calmly placed in the upper left corner of the goal for the 3-1 advantage.

“It’s the first time we’ve been down this year and I think we hit, ‘Oh no, we’re losing. What do we do now?’” said Ripley coach Kevin Poe. “They stopped focusing on soccer, lost their composure and had other things going on in their mind and they just let down from there.”

Pedro Briseno tallied his fifth goal of the season with under 10 minutes to play when his left-footed shot curled to the upper corner, bounced off the hands of a diving Jaki Royal and into the goal.

The win is the third in a row for the Saints, who improve to 3-0-1 with the victory. They’ll take on Bishop Brossart on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the 10th Region All “A” Classic.

Ripley took an early 1-0 lead 11 minutes into Tuesday’s game when Nigel Royal found Ryan Mitchell on a deep pass and Mitchell put a shot low and to the right of St. Patrick keeper Caleb Poczatek.

The Blue Jays were able to maintain the lead until the 34th minute when Cesar Briseno cut a ball back to his left foot and placed a low shot into the back of the net.

Ripley, after scoring 15 times on the way to a 2-0-0 start to the season, was unable to find the goal the rest of the game. They had a good look 13 minutes into the second half with the game still tied, but Mitchell’s shot rocked the crossbar and the follow-up shot sailed over the net.

“I don’t think we were connecting on the passes as well. I think we were trying to dribble a little more in the second half which kind of hurt us and went away from what we were doing, but overall what I think hurt us more than anything was just losing composure and kind of giving up at the end,” said Poe. “That fourth goal should have never happened. We just gave up on that.”

The Blue Jays fall to 2-1-0 with the loss. They’re scheduled to host Fayetteville-Perry on Thursday.


Only having 10 players wasn’t a problem for the St. Patrick girls’ soccer team on Tuesday.

The shorthanded Lady Saints collected two goals from Allison Hughes and got several big saves from Olivia Poczatek to come away with a 2-1 victory over Ripley.

“We practiced that. We knew we were going to be a little short because of the volleyball games and the same girls play different sports,” said St. Patrick coach Javier Cardenas. “We were practicing that. We were going to be short in the game, so we have to practice long kicks, long passes, spread out a little bit more and conditioning, more than anything else.”

Neither team could find the back of the net in the first half, but Hughes was able to score her fourth goal of the season early in the second half off a free kick that got past Ripley keeper Ginny Saunders.

The St. Patrick freshman wasn’t done, either.

Hughes added her second goal of the night four minutes later to put the Lady Saints up, 2-0, with 30 minutes left in the game.

“Allison has been playing soccer for a while. I trust in her to play any position. Today, like Libby [Gallenstein] in the first game, she put the team on her shoulders. I’m proud of the whole team,” said Cardenas. “Every time we go into a game, we expect to win the game. Unluckily, not every time it happens, but today was the day.”

From there, it was the St. Patrick defense taking charge, led by Olivia Poczatek in goal. Justina Klee is the everyday goalkeeper, but was unable to make the game because she was playing in the St. Patrick volleyball team’s 2-0 (25-21, 25-16) victory over Mason County.

The Lady Jays did get on the board with a shot from Danielle Bennington with just under 20 minutes remaining, but that was all they could find.

“I know we outplayed them, I know we outshot them and I think we played well enough to win. We just couldn’t finish and find the back of the net,” said Ripley coach Kevin Poe. “Other than that, I have no complaints about the way we played.”

Poczatek was able to come up with a kick-save on a Ripley breakaway after the Bennington goal that would have tied it, and added another spectacular stop with under two minutes remaining by diving for a low cross and catching it while taking a cleat to the head.

“Olivia was supposed to be the main goalie at the beginning, but when Justina got in we tried Justina to see how that worked,” said Cardenas. “We missed Justina today, so we started with our main goal person.”

St. Patrick held on in the closing minutes for their first win of the season. The Lady Saints move to 1-2-1 and are scheduled to host Sayre on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Ripley falls to 0-3-0 with the loss and will look to build upon Tuesday’s game when they host Fayetteville-Perry on Thursday.

“The last two [games] we’ve had, both have been much improved, a lot closer and I think it’s definitely building confidence in everybody and seeing that it’s not going to be a repeat of last year and that we can compete this year,” said Poe.”


ST. PATRICK —1-3—4

RIPLEY —1-0—1

Goals: (R) Mitchell 11th minute, (SP) C. Briseno 34th minute, (SP) C. Briseno 62nd minute, (SP) Lopez 67th minute, (SP) P. Briseno 71st minute

Shots (On goal): St. Patrick 24 (11), Ripley 16 (9)

Corners: St. Patrick 10, Ripley 1

Saves: St. Patrick (Poczatek) 8, Ripley (J. Royal) 7

Records: St. Patrick 3-0-1, Ripley 2-1-0


ST. PATRICK —0-2—2

RIPLEY —0-1—1

Goals: (SP) Hughes 46th minute, (SP) Hughes 50th minute, (R) Bennington 61st minute

Shots (On goal): St. Patrick 12 (11), Ripley 19 (13)

Corners: St. Patrick 6, Ripley 2

Saves: St. Patrick (Poczatek) 12, Ripley (Saunders) 9

Records: St. Patrick 1-2-1, Ripley 0-3-0

Ripley goalkeeper Jaki Royal rises to deflect a St. Patrick shot during the Blue Jays’ Aug. 28 non-league game at Ripley. goalkeeper Jaki Royal rises to deflect a St. Patrick shot during the Blue Jays’ Aug. 28 non-league game at Ripley.

By Jared MacDonald

Champion Media