The CBC Cadets face a familar foe in the Class 4 boys state soccer Final Four.
CBC (23-2-2) plays defending state champion Rockhurst (25-3) at 2 p.m. Friday (Nov. 16) at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton. In the other semifinal, De Smet (21-3-2) will meet Lee’s Summit(21-1) at noon Friday.
The semifinal losers will play at 10 a.m. Saturday for third place. The two winners meet for the state title at 2 p.m.
“We are very excited as you can imagine,” CBC coach Terry Michler said about being back in the Final Four. “We had tough road tough games to get here.”
CBC has one of the most storied high school soccer programs in the state and in the nation. The Cadets have 1,400 career victories dating back to 1955. Moreover, the program has captured nine Missouri state championships. In addition, CBC has reached the state semifinals 19 other times.
The Bob Horgan-coached 1969 team won the state’s first postseason tournament.
Then came the Michler era. He continued the legacy of a state championship program and won titles in the years 1983, 1984, 1988, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2016.
The Cadets also have placed as the state runner-up six times (1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1996, 1997) and earned five third-place finishes (1978, 1979, 1998, 2000, 2017).
CBC had to get past two strong opponents to reach the Final Four.
After winning its district tournament, CBC scored a 1-0 win over Holt in sectional.
“It was a tough game, very much so,” Michler said. “They had a nice combination of speed, skill, determination and solid defense. (Holt senior midfielder) Sam Rowan is a special player.”
CBC senior midfielder Nate Temmi scored the game’s only goal in the second half.
“After a 12-pass sequence that ended up on the right wing with Julian Bennett, who whipped in a very dangerous cross that deflected off a defender back to Nate, who one-timed it into the back of the net from about 15 yards out,” Michler said describing the goal.
It was goalie Dave Fitzgerald’s 16th shutout this season.
“It’s not a school record (but) he has been very steady, dependable and exceptional when called upon to make a big save,” Michler said. “He stopped a couple of one-versus-keeper situations in this game.”
The win set up a rematch with Metro Catholic Conference rival Chaminade. During the regular season, the Red Devils defeated the Cadets 2-1.
This time, the outcome was different. CBC handed Chaminade a 3-1 defeat. While his Cadets were happy to get another chance to play Chaminade, they were “much more satisfied” to advance to the Final Four rather than just beat the Red Devils, Michler said.
“Revenge was not an issue,” Michler said. “Advancing was.”
CBC took a 2-0 lead in first half on goals by Sam Benoist and Camden Starzyk. Jumping out to the early lead was important to his squad, Michler said.
“Huge, especially when it came 2 minutes before the end of the first half,” Michler said. “It certainly made for an interesting and exciting second half.”
Chaminade came back and cut to score to 2-1.
CBC answered with a cushion on goal by senior forward Julian Bennett.
“With 3 minutes to go in the game, we had a throw in at midfield,” Michler said. “Ball was thrown in and battled for and came off a Chaminade head in the direction of their goal. Reese McKell sprinted onto the ball and advanced it toward the penalty area and played a very accurate cross to Julian Bennett, who was alone with the keeper.
“Julian calmly slotted the ball in the ground into the net.”
It was a relief for the Cadets to get past a determined bunch of Red Devils.
“We played well enough to win,” Michler said. “(We) took advantage of our chances to score three nice goals and defended well enough to keep Chaminade out. It was not our usual high speed possession game. It was more of a gritty dig in and defend game.
“We did what we had to do. Credit Chaminade for a great game and keeping us under pressure, but credit us for withstanding it and scoring 3 goals.”
Now, CBC faces a familiar foe in Rockurst. Last fall, the Cadets lost 2-1 in the semifinals to the Hawklets. CBC had not real preference to play Rockhurst again in the semifinals.
“It does not matter,” Michler said. “It’s how the draw was set up. We owe the Final Four a better game than we played last year.”
CBC has a pot of history with Rockhurst “going way back,” Michler said. The two teams met in mid-October and CBC won 2-0.
To get past Rockhurst and into the state championship game, Michler has two things he wants to see from his Cadets.
“Score one goal and get a shutout,” Michler said.