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Escobar helps lift McClancy over Mount

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Alexis Escobar suffered a broken meniscus and a fractured femur in the first game of the season a year ago against Christ the King. But the junior midfielder said that feeling wasn’t nearly as painful as standing helplessly on the sideline as the McClancy soccer team lost to Salesian in the CHSAA Class B intersectional quarterfinals last year.

“Seeing my team go down on this field, it was a killer for me,” he said.

A year later, Escobar was on the field at McClancy to celebrate a 4−2 victory against Mount St. Michael that sent the Crusaders into the ‘B’ semifinals where they will face defending champion St. Joseph by the Sea at the East Elmhurst school Tuesday afternoon.

The Vikings defeated Christ the King, 3−1, on Thursday. In the other semifinal, Bishop Ford, which defeated Cardinal Hayes, 1−0, will meet Salesian, which pounded St. John’s Prep, 4−0.

“It’s a great feeling,” the junior midfielder said. “Last year I was on the sideline, but now I’m on the field trying to do anything I can for this team.”

That’s what he did on Thursday afternoon, with a goal and an assist in the second half after an admittedly slow start against the Mountaineers.

“I don’t know what was happening in the first half, but I’m glad I woke up in that second half,” he said. “That first half, I was asleep the whole time.”

It’s a good thing his other teammates were wide−awake at the opening kickoff. Steven Jimenez set up Adi Radoncic in the eight minute and was then played in on goal by a long through ball by Peter Scimemi in the 23rd minute as McClancy (10−2−0) took a 2−0 lead into halftime.

“We always come out early and get the advantage, I guess,” Jimenez said.

Escobar calls soccer his passion and it’s something that is very much in his blood. His brother, Julian, is the all−time leading scorer at McClancy and on Monday, Alexis Escobar and his teammates went to C.W. Post to watch Julian play his final collegiate home game.

“I decided to take the team out there to show support for Julian and also to have them get a chance to watch some next−level soccer, kind of to reinforce everything I say to him,” McClancy second−year coach Adrian Caballero said. “I think that game helped us and Alexis because Alexis came out today very excited and energetic and he came to make his family proud.”

Escobar set up Julian Ospina in the 55th minute and then put the Crusaders in front, 4−1, when he scored from 25 yards out.

“He’s the pillar of this team,” Caballero said of Alexis Escobar. “He’s amazing. On and off the field, the way he thinks, the way he talks to his teammates, his whole approach to the game is very important, a big part of our team. He’s a very intelligent kid, well motivated.”

Mount (9−6−1), which suffered a heartbreaking, double−overtime loss to St. Joseph by the Sea and a one−goal loss to Cardinal Hayes in the Archdiocesan seeding playoffs, did score two goals in the final quarter hour, both by Farbod Shayanfar Rayegar.

“We have a very young team, they’re not used to battling through things like that,” said Mount coach Anthony Aromando, whose starting goalkeeper, Anthony Santiago, suffered a pulled hamstring against Hayes. “I have about five impact freshmen and a number of juniors returning for next season, so I think we’ll be a whole lot better.”

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