BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - The St. Augustine Prep soccer team needed an equalizer after giving up a goal to Bishop Eustace Prep during their South Jersey Non-Public A boys quarterfinal game Friday.
The Hermits tried relentlessly over the final 20 minutes to get the tying goal and put most of their players up. However, Eustace adjusted, too, with eight or nine men back, and turned away every Prep attempt.
Bishop Eustace won 1-0 on senior midfielder Chris Schiavo's goal 3 minutes, 4 seconds into the second half. The Crusaders, seeded sixth, improved to 14-5-2. St. Augustine, the third seed, fell to 11-7-1.
"We got the goal, and then they threw everything but the kitchen sink at us," Bishop Eustace first-year coach John Loiodice said. "We like to score a lot of goals, but we had to put guys back to stop them. We have a strong defense with seven seniors."
Bishop Eustace will play a semifinal game against the winner of second-seeded Monsignor Donovan (14-4-1) and No. 10 Immaculata (6-9-1), of Somerset County.
St. Augustine came close to scoring in the 74th minute when Mick Smyth got off a header right near the goal mouth, but Crusaders goalie Vince Malorino (five saves) made the stop.
"We were really battling, but we couldn't put one in," said Smyth, a 17-year-old senior from the Marlton section of Evesham Township. "They were really compacting, with nine men back. When a defense does that, you want to go wide to open up holes because they have to come out to stop you.
"It's disappointing to lose, but we'll try to finish up with a win on Monday."
St. Augustine has one more game, a regular-season makeup contest at Bridgeton at 3:30 p.m. Monday.
"We had a multiple opportunities, but it didn't happen. That's the game," said Steve Rolando, who was a St. Augustine assistant coach since 1992 before taking over as head coach this year. "If you're a soccer fan, it was an enjoyable show. It had plenty of offense and defense, and 'oohs and ahs.' "
Nick Hanuscin's throw-in for the Crusaders led to the game's only goal. The ball went to teammate Jake Heyse and then to Schiavo, who scored right in front of the net from 5 yards away.
The Hermits marked Bishop Eustace forward Alec Palmeri during the scoreless first half. The Crusaders had most of the chances. St. Augustine freshman Christian Bik sent a header just wide from in close during the 27th minute. Teammate Sean Lynch fired from the left side in the box with four minutes left in the half, and Malorino made the save.
"We changed our defense and put three men in the middle instead of four to adapt to their size and speed, with a man (Adam Reihl) marking No. 10 (Palmeri)," Rolando said.
St. Augustine goalie James Higbee made eight saves, including a stop on Marc Montinard from 8 yards out in the 55th minute, and a stop on Palmeri late in the game.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Bishop Eustace Prep 0 1-1
St. Augustine Prep 0 0-0
Goalies-Malorino (5) BE. Higbee (8) SA.
Records-B.E. 14-5-2; S.A. 11-7-1.