February 27, 2018
SAN JOSE - Junior Demitri Castaneda helped shut down the potent San Benito attack and scored the winning goal early in the second half to lift Saint Francis to a 2-0 win over San Benito in the CCS Division 1 semifinals Tuesday evening at Valley Christian High School.
The Lancers (14-4-6) advance to the championship match where they will take on WCAL rival Bellarmine College Prep, which rallied for two second-half goals in a 2-1 win over Palo Alto in the other semifinal. The championship game will take place Saturday at Valley Christian with the winner advancing to the NorCal playoffs.
Castaneda broke the deadlock with a goal in the 45th minute, picking up a loose ball in his own half of the field and going on an individual run to break the San Benito offside trap. He finished the breakaway with a shot into the upper right corner to make it 1-0. The Lancers struggled with the trap in the first half, getting caught offside multiple times before Castaneda was able to break through.
In addition to scoring the decisive goal, Castaneda - along with fellow center back James Holland - did an outstanding job shutting down high-scoring forward Manuel Ceja - who scored four goals in a 5-1 win over Serra in the quarterfinals and finished the season with 20 goals - holding him to just two shots. While Castaneda did an excellent job organizing the defense, Holland used his 6-5 frame to dominate just about every ball in the air.
St. Francis put the game away in the 77th minute on a goal by senior Tycho Halpern. After junior Tyler Roey was denied by the goalkeeper on his initial shot, the rebound came out to Halpern, who slotted the ball from the penalty spot to make it 2-0.
This will mark the third meeting between St. Francis and Bellarmine. The Bells won the season series 1-0-1 with the teams tying 1-1 January 13 and Bellarmine prevailing 2-1 on February 7. San Benito's season ended with an 11-4-8 record.