DEL MAR — Mission impossible.
St. Augustine had one particular player in mind when it mapped out strategy for its San Diego Section Division III boys' soccer championship against Mission Bay. Stop Aaron Susi, and you've put a halt to a good portion of the Buccaneers' scoring potential.
But it wasn't to be. Susi was the first and last Buc heard from as top-seeded Mission Bay disposed of St. Augustine, 3-1, Wednesday night at Torrey Pines.
"Aaron's a great player," St. Augustine Coach James Duffy said of the senior forward. "We knew we had to stop him. I thought we contained him like we wanted to in the first half, but that third goal killed us. It's hard to come back from 3-1. Two-1, yes, but not 3-1."
The Bucs pulled a one-two scoring punch near the end of the first half to take a 2-0 halftime lead, which the Saints cut in half at 29:51 in the second half.
With its players on the sidelines wringing their hands and Coach Bruce Cochrane looking a bit anxious, Mission Bay (14-4-2) babied its 2-1 lead until Susi came up with the goal that iced the victory at the 45-minute mark. The goal had shades of "Oh Doctor," written all over it.
The Bucs senior midfielder Socrates Scatolini--named after a Brazilian national team member who was a doctor--was on a breakaway and headed toward Saints goalie Tim Fontana. That's when the ball ricocheted off a St. Augustine defender and fell directly into the path of Susi, who shot it from just outside the penalty box.
"On that last goal, I was just right there," said Susi, who also was at the right place when he picked up the ball at midfield and dribbled down for an unassisted goal from 14 yards out for the 1-0 lead at 34:46 in the first half. It was his 20th goal of the season, to go along with his 12 assists.
Mission Bay's second goal came less then 2 1/2 minutes later, when Nick Pabarcus, on an assist by Matt Garrison, scored from three yards inside the penalty box.
Matt Tessier pulled the Saints to 2-1 after he went one-one-one with Mission Bay goalie Chad Willenberg, faked left and scored. But Mission Bay came up with a critical save that kept the Saints from tying it at 14:50.
Socrates Scatolini's brother, Critelli, who is named after an Italian national team soccer player, put what looked like a cross-check on Tessier, who stopped what looked like an inevitable goal.