Even with two defenders watching his every move, Haji Abdikadir was able to bust loose and help keep the season alive for the Collegiate School boys soccer squad.
Abdikadir scored his team-high 14th goal in the eighth minute and Ezra Sanford added a goal in the 60th minute as the Titans beat Male 2-0 on Tuesday in a 26th District Tournament semifinal at St. Xavier.
“We were trying to keep him off the ball, and he still scores the first goal,” Male coach Daniel Anderson said of Abdikadir. “We had two guys on him. Clearly he’s the difference-maker in the game.”
Collegiate (10-4-1), ranked No. 24 in the state by MaherRankings.com, advanced to face No. 4 St. Xavier in Thursday’s 6 p.m. district final. The Tigers defeated Brown 10-0 in Tuesday’s other semifinal.
Both Collegiate and St. X clinched spots in next week’s Seventh Region Tournament.
* Collegiate-Male: The Titans, who outshot the Bulldogs 20-3, were able to relax after Abdikadir’s early goal on an assist from Cameron Wheeler.
“Coaches were talking about making runs behind the defensive line, and I just saw that open line and the space,” said Abdikadir, a sophomore who is a native of Kenya and moved with his family to the United States in 2004. “I made the run, and Cameron Wheeler assisted me with a nice pass. After we got that goal we were calm and relaxed.”
Abdikadir’s goal came immediately after what was Male’s only shot of the first half, a bullet from Emon Daneshmand that went just over the goal.
Male (4-15-3) had two chances on free kicks early in the second half but couldn’t put a shot on goal. One highlight for the Bulldogs was the play of senior goalkeeper Will Seewer, who made 11 saves.
Seewer also was in goal when Male handed No. 2 Trinity its only loss this season, 1-0, on Sept. 24. Seewer was thrust into the position last month when junior goalkeeper Trey Muse left the squad to pursue an opportunity with a club team in Seattle.
“The kid’s amazing,” Anderson said of Seewer. “I’ve coached a lot of soccer, and he’s one of the best goalkeepers I’ve ever had. … He made saves here tonight that no other keeper would have made.”
Sanford’s goal midway through the second half put the game away for Collegiate, which defeated Male in the district semifinals for the third time in the past four seasons.
“Next year looks even better, but we’re hoping for a nice run this year,” said Collegiate coach Chad Wozniak, who has no seniors on his roster. “To have people talking about Collegiate in the same breath as some of these other bigger schools is kind of cool.”
Thursday’s district final will give Collegiate a chance to avenge a 4-1 loss to St. Xavier on Aug. 20.
“We told our boys that they got bullied on the field that night,” Wozniak said. “We think we can play with them. We’re hoping for a good result on Thursday.”
* St. Xavier-Brown: Matthew Phelan, Brad Middleton and Nick Scharfenberger each scored two goals as the Tigers (16-6) cruised past the Bears (5-12-1) in a game that was stopped in the 43rd minute because of the 10-goal mercy rule.
Matthieu Tapolsky, Lucas Mudd, Garrett Dickinson and Sam Graber also scored for St. X.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and [email protected]