By MIKE MEILER
Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Catholic Patriots, seventh seed in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association Interscholastic Athletic Conference playoffs, scored the upset of the postseason so far, knocking off second-seeded Bishop Timon/St. Jude, 3-2, in the quarterfinals of the boys soccer playoffs.
Freshman Devin Defrank led the way for the Patriots, contributing to all three scores with two goals and an assist.
Defrank was second in scoring for Niagara Catholic during the season and, despite his youth, is a leader on the 12-player team, which features six freshmen and three sophomores.
"He's our center midfielder. He's the vocal one, the motivator," Niagara Catholic coach Brad Milette said. "He's young, but so is our team. He has a presence out there."
The Patriots opened the scoring in the first half when Jake Socha buried after corralling Defrank's corner kick.
The Tigers answered, but Defrank scored his first of the game on a deke and a shot into the corner to give Niagara Catholic another lead.
A late Timon goal brought the game to a 2-2 tie at half.
Twenty minutes into the second, Niagara Catholic's Thomas Hamilton was sandwiched as he attempted to split two Timon defenders. The referee called for a direct kick, which Defrank lofted over the goaltender and just under the crossbar from 30 yards out for the winning goal.
"We've come close a few times and won one against O'Hara, but this was our big win," Milette said.
The Tigers had beaten the Patriots by a combined score of 12-1 in two regular season matches between the Small School division foes.
The Patriots advance to the semifinals, where they'll play the winners of Wednesday's match between Christian Central Academy and St. Mary's of Lancaster at 3:30 p.m. today at the West Seneca Soccer Complex.