By Joe Nolan ’20
Nearly one year ago, Chaminade High School’s varsity soccer team vanquished the Regis Raiders in the CHSAA State Championship, thus securing the cherished title of state champion for the third year in a row. A year later, the young men, under the direction of head coach Mr. Michael Gallagher, have the same goal— to secure yet another championship for the prestigious Chaminade soccer team.
At the commencement of the 2018 season, the Flyers came out of the gates roaring, defeating the Regis Raiders by a 6-0 score in a 2017 CHSAA State Championship rematch. Since that game, the accomplished squad has been on fire—defeating league rivals Kellenberg Memorial, St. John the Baptist, and Holy Trinity. These victories helped Chaminade secure a top spot in the league standings.
Although this year’s Flyers have gotten off to a strong start, the success hasn’t been without setbacks. As Rafael Achury ’19 explained, the team knew that it would be one of the toughest, most competitive seasons in recent years.
“Coming into this season, we knew, as a team, that it would be one of the hardest seasons yet,” said Achury. “We’ve played very competitive games against top-ranked teams, such as St. Ignatius of Ohio, the second-highest ranked team in the nation, along with the New Jersey powerhouses of Delbarton High School and Christian Brothers Academy.”
Achury’s teammate, Justin Caccavo ’20, didn’t shy away from the fact that the team has faced some minor obstacles during the first half of the season. “This season has had its ups and downs, but that is largely due to our increased competition this year,” Caccavo explained.
Though each of the three aforementioned games ended in losses, the team optimistically looked at the losses as learning opportunities. They believe, because of the talent, grit, and determination the Flyers displayed, that they can compete with anyone. “Despite the losses,” explained Achury, “we were proud of how we played and look to build off of the strong performances and momentum.”
One of the cardinal factors in the team’s success thus far has been the leadership—particularly that of the returning seniors. Both the returning seniors and the incoming juniors recognize the imperative role that senior leadership plays in team morale.
“This year,” said Achury, “we have a large number of returning senior players; I believe that our job is to be role models for the other guys, both on and off the field.”
When asked about the importance of senior leadership, Caccavo responded, “The seniors have been extremely supportive of the younger guys, and have acted as mentors to us; this has helped us to rise to the caliber of the varsity level here at Chaminade.”
Through the ups and downs, the successes and hardships, and the wins and losses, one thing has remained constant—the players’ utmost confidence that they have what it takes—the depth, the talent, and the work ethic, to compete for the state title for the fourth consecutive year.
Evan Bandini ’19 explained that, though there are still improvements to be made, he is confident in the Flyers’ ability to retain the league title.
The Flyers have some big shoes to fill this year. Although the road is never easy, they have their eyes on the prize. The soccer team is unreservedly focused on taking home their fourth straight State Championship. Senior Rafael Achury made this abundant clear when he said,
“I truly believe that we, this year, have both the talent and the work ethic to win a fourth consecutive state title.”
They plan to take the season one game at a time and slowly but surely work their way to yet another championship finale.