Shared from the 9/24/2016 Philadelphia Inquirer - Philly Edition eEdition

BOYS’ SOCCER

Judge, Roman put on show for overflow crowd

The clock said there was still more than 45 minutes until Father Judge and Roman Catholic would face off at United German Hungarians field.

Forty-five minutes, longer than the length of asingle half of soccer. Still, the parking lot was packed.

Cars came in to the grass lot and drove around, sometimes circling a few times.

Where would they park, you could hear fans ask their friends as they put the windows of their vehicles down to survey the scene a bit more.

Creatively. That’s how they would park.

The parking for the hotly contested Catholic League match was always going to be an issue. It was at the RAMP complex a year ago during the regular-season finale, where cars were parked blocks and blocks away just to catch a glimpse of the unbeaten squads. Parking was an issue at Archbishop Ryan for the league championship last November, when droves walked along Academy Road near the school to get to the game.

That’s what happens when you have built a rivalry such as the one between the Cahilites (5-1-2) and the Crusaders (5-2-1). Everyone wants to come watch.

“It is always a tough game against Roman,” Judge senior Davis Habilaj said. “There’s always a lot of intensity there.”

“They are a tough opponent,” Roman senior Matt Flanagan echoed. “Everything from last year still carries into this year. It is always a great game against them.”

Everything from last year?

The game did feel a little like last year, a similar buzz was in the air. There was even a Tobin in net for the Cahilites. The buzz was accentuated by the fact that Billy McCarthy — a Judge grad — and Brandon Gutekunst — one year removed from Roman — were there watching.

The two are now teammates at La Salle University but a year ago were battling it out.

Battling. There was a lot of that, too.

Sean McCormick battled the tough Roman back line.

Habilaj battled Roman sophomore forward Jared Dillon for long stretches of the game.

And in the end, goals from Dillon and McCormick meant a 1-1 draw, even after two overtime periods.

“We had our opportunities. Didn’t finish,” Habilaj said. “They had their opportunities, too.”

It was an unsatisfying result for both sides as each tried to cement themselves as the team to beat in the league.

But as the cars lined up to leave, the people didn’t seem disappointed. kharman@philly.com

@ka_harman

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