By Colin Capece ’18
Often in sports, teams that win each game are simply more skilled or hardworking than their opponents; however, in order for a team to finish the season as both undefeated and champions, long-lasting consistency and a knack for making winning plays at the most decisive moments are imperative. For the Chaminade freshman soccer team, these attributes were shown during its league championship match against archrival St. Anthony’s on Thursday, October 29.
The Flyers carried a 15-0 record into the match and looked to conclude their season on a high note.
Midfielder Jose Pena ’19 said, “The fact that we were undefeated was definitely on our minds early on in the week, but during training Coach Anselmo told us to just relax and play like we had been playing all year.”
In regulation, the Flyers got off to a strong start, moving the ball around the field with accuracy and speed. Nico Primavera ’19 and Francesco Artusa ’19 both found the back of the net for the Flyers, but the team also conceded two goals to a persistent St. Anthony’s team.
After regulation and two overtimes, nothing could separate the Flyers and the Friars. The score was level at two goals apiece with both teams exhausted after playing 110 minutes of hard fought, physical soccer. Only a penalty kick shootout remained to decide which team would be crowned the champion of the CHSAA freshman soccer league.
Andrew Hammersley ’19 made an incredible save on the first St. Anthony’s attempt, giving Chaminade an instant advantage. Subsequently, Francesco Artusa, Sean O’Connor ’19, and Brendan Slattery ’19 each converted their spot kicks for the Flyers. With St. Anthony’s down 3-2 in the shootout and in need of a goal to keep their season alive, Hammersley denied another penalty kick to give the Flyers the victory. Shortly after, the goalkeeper found himself mobbed by his overjoyed teammates.
“When Andrew saved that last penalty kick, there was a huge sense of relief,” said midfielder Jose Pena. “We had worked so hard over the course of the season to get to that point, and it was incredible to see all of the hard work pay off. ”
The victory put the finishing touches on a remarkable season for the freshmen Flyers. They steamrolled through each and every opponent on their way to a 16-0 record.
When asked what made this year’s team so successful, Pena replied, “I think that when we first started to train in August, we all knew that we were very talented and skilled. However, we bonded extremely well as a team, which allowed us to really communicate and play to each other’s strengths on the field.”
In a season filled with incredible individual and team performances, Pena identified one moment that defined the Flyers’ season, “It was definitely the second regular season game that we played against St. Anthony’s. Coming into that game, we had beaten every team that we’d played pretty easily, including St. Anthony’s. We came out in the first half very flat and were down 2-1 at halftime. Being in a hole for the first time really woke us up, and coming back to win the game, 3-2, really gave us an extra boost of confidence that carried us through the second half of the season.”
An incredible work ethic and sense of dedication by these young Flyers has led them to one of the most successful seasons in recent Chaminade soccer history. Their success as freshmen will hopefully lead to greater accomplishments for this group down the road, but, for now, congratulations to the freshman soccer team for a tremendous season!