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Golden Knights going strong

Soccer: McCreary scores twice as St. Francis downs Alemany and stays unbeaten in last eight.

January 27, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • St. Francis' Frankie Viega, center, and Billy McCreary, right, during a game against Alemany on Friday.
St. Francis' Frankie Viega, center, and Billy McCreary,… (Cheryl A. Guerrero,…)

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — With what had been a lopsided Mission League match having reverted into a tightly played contest, St. Francis High's Billy McCreary gave it a little extra.

And it was that little extra that led to a game-clinching goal, as McCreary found the back of the net twice, including the clincher with just less than eight minutes remaining in the Golden Knights' 3-1 league win over Alemany on Friday evening at Friedman Field.

"It's the effort is what it is," said McCreary, who's on the heels of an All-CIF football season, as he played cornerback, kicker and punter for the Golden Knights. "The play where you give that little extra and get that touch, that's the goal you're gonna remember.

"That's what the coaches are telling us every practice is it's all about the effort."

And that's exactly what Golden Knights Coach Glen Appels was telling McCreary on Friday.

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"It was ironic, cause we were telling him all game to go hard," Appels said. "The time he worked hard he got that goal."

With Alemany bringing the ball up, McCreary was seemingly removed from the play, but sprinted onto it as a Warriors defender was pushing the play rather slowly. McCreary stole the ball roughly around the 40-yard line on Alemany's side of the field. He sprinted past two defenders on the right side and dribbled through another before creating space and taking a hard low shot that found the net and propelled the Golden Knights into second place in league.

Entering Friday, St. Francis (6-7-7, 5-1-3) was firmly entrenched in third, but left the game having moved into a second-place tie with Loyola (5-1-3 in league), which lost to Chaminade (3-2-2 in league) on Friday. All three teams are trailing first-place Harvard-Westlake (6-1-1).

St. Francis, which went 2-0-1 this week, has three games remaining.

"That's a good week for us," said Appels, whose team has won two straight. "Three games to go and we're still in the thick of things."

St. Francis hasn't lost since its league opener against Harvard-Westlake on Jan. 4. Since then, it's unbeaten in its last 8, going 5-0-3. However, there was a recent string of three consecutive 2-2 ties.

Thus, after having controlled the tempo and taken a 2-0 lead early in the second half, when Alemany's Alex Jaramillo headed in a Cody Merchan throw-in to cut the lead in half with 15:30 remaining, things got precarious in a hurry.

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