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St. Pius keeps Knights away from win column

FARMINGTON — Freshman forward Andres Castro controlled a high ball before pivoting around a defender, and stepped into a low bouncing shot during the 60th minute on Wednesday.

The dangerous drive glanced off the left post and caromed out of play, however, and the Farmington boys soccer team was denied its first goal of the season by a matter of inches.

A frustrating start to the Knights’ season continued with a fourth straight setback, as visiting St. Pius limited Farmington to six shots in a 2-0 triumph.

Ben Ruzicka and Kelly Wilson scored less than two minutes apart during the first half, and keeper Garrett McDowell made three saves to register his fourth consecutive shutout for St. Pius (4-0).

Strong defense by the Lancers kept Farmington (0-4) from producing any clean scoring chances inside the box. An early cross from Monis Zereik just missed connecting on a run toward the far post.

McDowell calmly gathered two separate shots by Andres Castro and JoJo Augustine from about 25 yards away, and was soon handed the lead after St. Pius successfully penetrated the defense.

Knights keeper Josh Thomas initially stopped Wilson from a narrow angle in the 16th minute, but no Farmington players were around to mark Ruzicka, who easily deposited the rebound for a 1-0 lead.

Wilson received a long ball from defenseman Dan Barton moments later, and created space along the left side with a spin move. Thomas got both hands on the ensuing shot, but could not control possession along the goal line.

St. Pius nearly added another tally before halftime as midfielder Jordan Tucker sprinted through the middle for an eventual breakaway.

Thomas atoned with an excellent stop in the 1-on-1 confrontation, and finished with seven saves overall. He denied Dylan Licare on the doorstep when a blocked shot skipped right back toward the Lancers attacker.

Farmington waited more than 15 minutes for another threat to develop following Castro’s narrow miss from roughly 30 yards out.

Freshman Matt Eaton tracked down a diagonal ball near the right corner in the closing moments, but his return pass toward the middle was cleared after being briefly settled with three minutes to play.

One player from each team was assessed a yellow card during the second half. St. Pius attempted the only three corner kicks in the contest.

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