By PAUL GOTHAM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — John Paul Bobak broke a scoreless tie in the 49th minute, and the Canisius Crusaders (VI) held on to defeat the McQuaid Jesuit Knights in opening round action of the Catholic Cup Friday night at Wegmans Stadium.
Bobak and teammate Vincent Cancilla combined on a 1-2 sequence on the right side with Bobak finishing in the box.
“They’re just super-talented players,” Canisius head coach Christopher Stuff said of the duo. “They know each other really well. They grew up together playing. Our ability to move the ball between those two players is great.”
After playing to a scoreless draw in the first 40, Canisius reemerged after halftime and pushed the pace of the game.
“When we come out here to Rochester and have an opportunity to play teams like this, we want to go after it,” Stuff noted noted. “We don’t want to waste the trip. I wanted these guys to come out hard in the second half and play hard. They definitely did.”
McQuaid responded with pressure including three corner kicks midway through the second half.
Stuff pointed to the play of center backs Mike Mazzara and Chuck Weimer.
“They keep everybody together,” Stuff said. “They’ve been with this team for a while. They’re my captains and my leaders. They keep that defensive back line where it needs to be. They grow every day with it.”
McQuaid’s Daniel Rooney sent a header just over the cross bar in the 62nd minute. Dan Molloy got behind the Canisius defense moments later, but his shot caromed off the bar.
“The opportunities were there,” first-year McQuad Nino Pilato said. “We just talked about finishing them when we have a chance to do that. Unfortunately we hit the cross bar there and had a few other opportunities slide by. But they worked hard. Credit to them. They hung in there. They battled to keep the ball out of the net. Sometimes, you don’t get the bounces.”
Canisius improved to 3-1 and will play Bishop Kearney in Saturday’s championship. A noon kickoff is scheduled.
“That’s a good team,” Pilato said of Canisius. “That’s probably one of the better teams that we’re going to face this season. Competition like that gets you ready for the post-season.”
McQuaid falls to 6-1 with the setback. The Knights will play the host Aquinas in the consolation match. A 10:30 a.m. start is slated.