The fact that a Gallagher will be in the NSCHSAA soccer finals this year is something that wasn’t lost on or St. John the Baptist Tuesday afternoon.
“That’s what I was rooting for today,” Flyers coach Mike, one half of said as he looked across Ott Field at younger sibling Nick, the St. John skipper. “We got one.”
Unfortunately for the Flyers it was that younger sibling who will be going on to face St. Anthony’s Friday, a 1-0 nailbiter that sent the Cougars to their first championship meet since 2006 when they had faced Chaminade.
The last time Vincent Valenza had faced St. John goalkeeper Michael Gaffary, the Chaminade forward had snuck one by the box and into the net. Tuesday no ball got as far for the Flyers.
“He’s probably the best at that on a break away, one on one with a guy I give him a good chance,” Nick Gallagher had said about the one who wears the number one on his back for a reason. Gaffary had two saves in three minutes to open up the second half alone.
“That’s why he’s there for that,” the junior Gallagher continued. “It was an ugly game but we’ll take it. They pressed us hard. You knew it was going to be a one-goal game. This time it worked out for us.”
What worked was a trio of breakaways and pressure on the Chaminade defense. It “goes against my better nature” to be aggressive Nick said, alluding to the type of defensive game his brother employs.
“I’m not ashamed,” the elder Gallagher said after the clock finished reading zeroes across, choosing another adverb to describe his emotions. “Destiny was in our own hands, you can’t win games if you don’t score goals. It’s just the way the game is. They have one legit chance on goal and he scored.”
‘He’ is Junior Rosero, who managed a kick into the bottom left corner of the Chaminade net off his non-dominant foot.
“I usually don’t go in,” the St. John midfielder said. “I usually try to get the rebound… and try to finish them.”
Rosero managed to finish the Flyers, capping a return to the field where the younger Gallagher had spend years as part of his brother’s team and .
“It means everything,” Nick said of getting the win as a freshman head coach on the field that was like his second home. “It probably would have been one of the only jobs that I would have left Chaminade for.”
St. Johns will now face off against St. Anthony’s on Friday night for the league crown.
“It’s special but its about these guys and the way these guys worked and the way these guys bit in,” Nick said. “It’s not the end of the year, it’s just the beginning.”1 2 F St. John the Baptist 0 1 1 Chaminade 0 0 0
Goalie Saves Brian Wasterman 7