St. Paul boys finish week with a good tie against defending NVL champ Oxford

St. Paul junior James Naples celebrates his match-tying goal during his team’s NVL boys soccer match against Oxford on Oct. 12 at McPhee Field. The Falcons earned a solid 1-1 tie against the defending league champion. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The St. Paul boys soccer team faced its biggest NVL challenge of the season to date this past Thursday night when it hosted defending champion Oxford on the grass pitch of McPhee Field.

It had been a tough week to that point for the Falcons. St. Paul suffered its first loss of the season in convincing fashion, falling 4-0 to Haddam-Killingworth of the powerful Shoreline Conference on Oct. 9. That match was moved to Municipal Stadium’s Ray Snyder Sr. Field in Waterbury due to field conditions.

St. Paul had to battle its way past Kennedy for a 3-2 win on Oct. 10 in a match also played on the turf of Snyder Field.

The Falcons were hosting an Oxford team that had blasted its last three opponents by a margin of 19-0, including a 5-0 thrashing of Kennedy and a 3-0 shutout of Woodland. St. Paul fell behind Oxford, 1-0, in the first half on a goal by Mason Pale. The margin was still 1-0 at halftime.

In the second half, junior standout striker James Naples got the opportunity the Falcons needed. Fellow junior Nick Rieger found Naples with a nice pass, and Naples scored to tie the match, 1-1. In a contest that became increasingly physical, St. Paul held on for the 1-1 tie and a well-earned point against Oxford. Senior Tyson Raymond, a second-year keeper, played a key role in helping the Falcons both stay in the game and preserve the tie once Naples tallied the equalizer.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from that St. Paul-Oxford game.


Going into this week’s games, St. Paul is the top team in the NVL with 26 points (record 8-1-2), with Oxford and Holy Cross right behind them with 25 points (8-2-1) apiece. 

A tough WCA squad is eighth with 17 points (5-5-2), which would put it in the NVL tournament if the postseason began today. Wolcott is 10th with 12 points (3-4-3), while aforementioned Kennedy is 11th with 11 points (3-6-2).