DEMOTTE | Bishop Noll sophomore Steven Matura picked an opportune time to score his first varsity goal in Wednesday’s semifinal game at the Class A Covenant Christian Sectional.
Matura’s goal at the 62-minute, 3-second mark against the host Knits turned the momentum back to Bishop Noll (9-5-1) with a 2-goal edge in an eventual 3-0 victory.
“It gives you a little bit of a breather,” Noll coach Armando Garza said.
The Warriors advance to the 2 p.m. championship game Saturday against Catholic rival Andrean, which held off Rensselaer 2-1 in Wednesday’s second game.
Trailing 1-0, the Knights (9-9) came out in the second half with a lot of energy and were doing a better job of winning the ball in the midfield. They had Noll on its heels before Matura deflected the ball past the goalkeeper on its first scoring chance of the half.
“It was a lucky shot,” Matura said. “I was just trying to cross it to Luke (Fuehrmeyer) on the left side. It was really nice.”
Noll’s Ryan Cloghessy found the net on a cross from Marcos Keefe in the 79th minute for the final count.
Garza said this is the best his squad has played all season.
“Everybody came to play today,” he said. “My defense was pretty solid back there. My midfield was doing a good job of moving the ball around, and I finally got some forwards up there.”
Aaron Garza rocketed a shot from just outside the box at the 27:35 mark to give Noll a 1-0 lead.
“It was real important to get the first goal in a tough game,” he said. “I saw an opportunity and took advantage of it.”
Covenant had scoring chances but couldn’t find the back of the net.
“We couldn’t finish when we had to, but I can’t really fault the effort of our guys,” Covenant coach Andrew Dunham said. “They gave everything they possibly could, and we weren’t just beaten by a better team.
“Bishop Noll, they have some players that are just stars, and it’s had to beat those type of teams. It’s a tough way to end the season, but we didn’t give up.”
Andrean’s Luke Nowesnick scored on an assist from Mike Gore in the 75th minute for the eventual game-winning goal.
Angel Clemente got the equalizer for Rensselaer (13-3-1) at the 34:28 mark.
“We’ve done a lot of good things this year,” Rensselaer coach Chip Gull said. “We’ve got a good group of seniors leaving us, and they left it all out there. They were playing their hearts. ... We keep on building different pieces, and hopefully this time next season we’ll get to that next level.”