Mission League-rival and champion Loyola will battle top-seeded El Toro in the other semifinal match at 3 p.m. today. The championship match will be played Friday or Saturday at a location to be determined.
“We had hoped to compete and win the league title, but it just didn’t happen,” St. Francis Coach Glen Appels said. “We were a couple of goals away, and it’s disappointing getting fourth.
“Now, we are in the final four against a good team. No matter how good the defenses are, I think both teams will get some chances.”
St. Francis advanced to today’s match with a 3-2 sudden-death road victory against Long Beach Jordan on Friday. Senior forward Amir Moore scored the winning goal six minutes into the extra session. Eric Verso and G.P. Gonzalez also tallied scores for the Golden Knights, who also picked up playoff victories against Tesoro and Newbury Park. St. Francis has allowed two goals in 246 minutes played in the postseason.
The Golden Knights (16-5-4) and Rams (26-3-2) are programs steeped in tradition. St. Francis has won three CIF championships between 1996-2003, while Millikan has captured division crowns in 1992 and 2002.
With a victory today, the Golden Knights or Rams can try to add to that championship total.
The Rams, who captured the Moore League title before picking up shutout playoff wins against Fountain Valley, St. John Bosco and West Torrance, have won five consecutive matches. They have recorded 19 shutouts this season, all by junior goalkeeper Jorge Becerra.
“Every year is like this [in the playoffs],” said Millikan Coach Rod Petkovic, who started the program 27 years ago. “We know that we are going up against a team with a tremendous CIF history, and Glen’s done a great job up there.