Saturday, November 12, 2022 – At the midway point of the second overtime period during the 2022 CHSAA Varsity Soccer Intersectional ‘B’ Division City Championship Match, the La Salle Academy Cardinals (10-3-2) made history as they defeated the Cardinal Hayes Cardinals, 3-2 on Randall’s Island, to capture their first ever soccer city championship. Senior striker, Veton Dudus, drilled a penalty kick for his 36th goal of the season setting off a wild celebration as the Cardinals of La Salle avenged last year’s semi-final loss to this very same Cardinal Hayes team, and in the process, handing them their first and only loss the 2022 season.
During the opening minutes of the match, both teams were able to generate some scoring chances before play settled down, then at the 17-minute mark, Dudus struck his 35th goal, corralling a thru ball from mid-fielder, Javier Lopez, took two touches and beat the Hayes keeper for the 1-0 lead going into the intermission.
In the second half, a rejuvenated Hayes team came back in a most efficient way as winger Samuel Pllumaj scored twice to put La Salle in a 1 goal hole entering the final 2 minutes of regulation play. As time was winding down on La Salle’s season, the Cardinals went on the offensive and pushed the entire team into the offensive zone and earned a corner kick from the right flag. Freshman Aidan Medellin delivered the ball to the far post and somewhere between the sea of bodies and legs, captain Louis Charpentier, who was playing up, slid a pass to fellow senior, Javier Lopez, who deposited the ball to the back right corner of the next to tie the score at 2-2 and send the match into overtime.
There was not much action for the first couple minutes of overtime as both teams regrouped, but then La Salle’s goalkeeper, senior Mickle White, made a save that literally saved the season: a brilliant, sprawling kick save to preserve the tie, a point-blank shot on a loose ball gathered at the top of the goal box.
In the second OT, it was the Cardinals of La Salle who controlled the play, and after several minutes, Medellin tripped and fouled on the play. As the ball bounced up, it hit a Hayes defender in the hand inside the box which resulted in a penalty kick. Appropriately, Dudus, one of the top soccer scorers in La Salle history, stepped to the dot and secured the first City Championship in school history with the winning goal.