IBy Oscar Matos ’18
It’s no secret that winning a championship in sports is a daunting, unnerving task that very few manage to achieve. In the playoffs, the hard work during the regular season can all come crashing down with one small error – a dropped interception, a wild pitch, or an errant pass can destroy a team’s dreams in a matter of seconds. And when a team finds a way to capture a championship, there is a feeling of euphoria. All the preparation has finally paid off. Then the next season comes around, and the team becomes a target – a team to beat – instead of champions. With every other team in the league gunning for them, many teams crumble under the pressure, failing to live up to the lofty expectations set for them. For Chaminade’s Varsity soccer team, which has recently been ranked at #7 in USA Today’s national high school soccer rankings, it has been business as usual after last year’s CHSAA State Title win.
For a team that finished 14-2-2 en route to a NSCHSAA championship and a state title victory, room for improvement was scarce. However, the Flyers are miles ahead of where they were at this point last year. Improvement from the team’s seniors, such as last year’s Gatorade NY State Player of the Year, Matt Vowinkel ‘17, has pushed the team to new heights. Another crucial factor to their success has been the contributions from juniors like Tim de Meij and John Murphy, and sophomore Brendan Slattery. The performance from the underclassmen has been key to a team that saw many of last year’s starters graduate. The raw talent the team possesses is apparent, and as a result, they were a highly-touted team entering the season. The Flyers were projected to be one of the top teams in the state, but, instead of getting cocky, head coach Mr. Michael Gallagher’s players let their play on the field do the talking.
The Flyers have had a few key victories so far this season, including dominant wins over Kellenberg, St. Dominic, and Delbarton. However, the game that put the team on the national scene was their victory over a tough Massapequa team. The win sent the team soaring up the national rankings, as they went from 22nd to 7th seemingly overnight.
While the Flyers are 16-2-2 now after yesterday’s 5-1 win over St. John the Baptist, the team knows that it has to continue to work hard and push their limitations if they want to repeat as champions. Center-back Chris Mercadante ‘18 said, “We have a long way to go, but I’m confident that we will continue to work hard and get the job done.”