DORCHESTER — While St. John’s of Shrewsbury saddled up in the Catholic Conference this season, the Pioneers won’t officially become a member of the conference until next fall.
But that didn’t stop SJS from making quite the impression.
At a frigid James Cotter Field on Wednesday, the Pioneers rode goals from Alvin Tulasi and Jorgo Karamelo to a 2-1 victory over BC High and the Catholic Conference Tournament crown.
“The boys were ready and expecting what we got (in the conference), which is class teams, quality soccer and awesome competition,” said SJS coach Michael Hughes. “They rose to the occasion.”
SJS (8-3-2) struck early as the ball deflected to Tulasi in front of the net and he scored for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.
A similar scenario helped the Pioneers put BC High (8-4) into an even more difficult position. Edmund Hughes played a long free kick into the box and the ball bounced around to Karamelo, who buried his chance for a 2-0 advantage in the 48th minute.
“We got off to a rocky start,” said BC High coach Billy Ryan. “St. John’s Shrewsbury is a phenomenal team. We just didn’t get the touches and the ball didn’t roll our way.”
The Pioneers’ defense bottled up BC High’s attack, which scored three goals on SJS in their previous matchup, for a majority of the contest, but the Eagles cut the deficit in half with 5:33 remaining when Aidan Greene scored in a scrum.
That was the only late-game magic BC High mustered, though, as SJS closed the door to triumph in a season that came with many teachable moments.
“This pandemic has taught these boys a lesson for life, which is it’s not always what you think it’s going to be, you got to be humble enough to see what’s in front of you and then adapt and make the changes necessary,” coach Hughes said. “It’s been a joy.”