By Ian C. Beck ’12
The No. 1 ranked Brophy soccer team is the 2011 5A-1 state champions after a 1-0 victory over the Hamilton Huskies Saturday, Feb. 12.
“The guys spoke about national rankings and what we could achieve, but when it came to game-time, nothing else really mattered except pulling together to achieve victory,” head coach Mr. Marc Kelly said in an e-mail Tuesday after the game.
At the half, the game was scoreless but Brophy jumped out to an early lead in the second half when Kyle Seeger ’11 scored on an assist from Esteban Obregon ’11.
In an interview on campus the Monday after the game, players said they had been dreaming about a championship since his freshman year.
“The dream became a reality, as they say,” Obregon said.
Seeger said the his goal was a matter of getting the right opportunity.
“We knew the left back, we knew we could beat him. Once I saw (Obregon) get the ball in his feet I ran as fast as I could to the back stick and it came across,” Seeger said in describing the game-winning goal. “Easy goal from all his work.”
Goalie Nate Sundermeier ’12 held the Huskies scoreless, his second shutout of the playoffs after locking down Desert Vista in Brophy’s 1-0 quarterfinal victory.
There were two close calls in the second half when it appeared as though Hamilton might score, but in both cases the ball either hit the goal’s crossbar or sailed wide.
Sundermeier and the rest of the Brophy defense posted 20 shutouts in 27 games this season, according to Mr. Kelly.
Brophy was able to hold off Hamilton for the rest of the game and ran out the clock until the championship was theirs.
A sizeable Brophy crowd was on hand at Campo Verde high school to watch the game, many students clad in shirts and ties as a tribute to the Brophy coaching staff who have worn suits to every match this season.
“Our plan this year was ‘keep it classy’,” Mr. Kelly said. “So I asked all my coaching staff to wear suits the entire year for our matches. It was the only way to try to match the beauty, panache and gorgeous nature of these players and the way they played. “
The team played without senior defenseman Mark Mandala ’11 who was injured in the semifinal game.
“It’s unfortunate but we have enough depth on our team to where someone, Casey Skowron ’11 in this case, and we didn’t lose a step,” Seeger said.
Even though Mandala did not play in the final match, his coach said the team was their because of his contributions.
“It was an incredible shame that Mark was injured in the semifinals,” Mr. Kelly said. “He was a diligent servant to the team this year, our captain and driving force behind the physical nature of this group.”
Mr. Kelly said throughout the season he tried to play with a style that was fast, controlled and dangerous. He said the team’s mission was to play attacking soccer that was fun for fans to watch.
The team responded by scoring 132 goals this season while allowing just 13.
Soccer storms through playoffs
By Michael Moroney ’13
Brophy’s soccer team was undefeated until it experienced its first loss at the hands of Desert Vista, just two weeks before the start of the 5A-I state playoffs.
Brophy finished the regular season at 19-1-1, which includes tournament games in the Ridge Cup and Golden State Invitational. Brophy won both tournaments.
The Brophy vs. Hamilton match Jan. 19 at Brophy Sports Complex was a battle between the top two teams in Arizona, but in the end Brophy came out on top with goals from Kevin Grigsby ’11 and Sean Ayers ’11, winning the game 2-1.
Prior to this game, Brophy had been elevated to the No. 3 ranking in the ESPN Rise Fab 50 high school soccer rankings and Hamilton was rated at No. 14.
Brophy quickly faced Desert Vista two days later in an away game, where they lost for the first time all year by a score of 3-1 due to a stifling Thunder defense.
Previously, the Brophy team had only tied in one game to an out of state team, Watsonville High School, while in the Golden State Invitational. Brophy dropped to No. 11 in the ESPN Rise rankings.
The team capped off the season with consecutive routs against Chandler 8-0 and Mesa 6-0. The Broncos advanced to the Arizona 5A-I state playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
In the first round, Brophy faced No. 16 seeded North Canyon in a freezing game and beat them 9-0. Riggs Lennon ’13 contributed three goals in the victory and goalie Nate Sundermeier ’12 shut out the Rattlers.
The Broncos advanced to face the only team that beat them all year, the ninth seeded Desert Vista, at Reach 11 Sports Complex. Brophy came out hungry and looked to avenge the loss.
“I want to say we went into the DV game just like every other playoff game, but we didn’t,” said Ian Poblete ’13, a Brophy defender.
The game was tied at 0-0 nearly the whole game until in the closing minutes when Lennon booted a goal after a deflected shot from Kyle Seeger ’11.
“We were hungry, we dominated possession, and we just outplayed them,” Poblete said.
The Broncos held off the Thunder for the little remaining time to gain the 1-0 victory as the ecstatic Brophy crowd stormed the field.
“The crowd was behind us 100 percent. Anytime I ran down the line, the fans heckled my defender,” said Tyler Mcgehee ’12 about the Brophy students at the game.
On Feb. 10, Brophy ventured to Campo Verde High School in Gilbert to play the Kofa Kings in a semifinal match.
Brophy won the game 4-3 without starting goalie Sundermeier. The game winning goal came from Grigsby with just three minutes remaining, his second of the game. Also, Lennon contributed two goals.
The goals by Lennon were his fifth and sixth of the playoffs, which adds up to 33 total goals on the season, a Brophy soccer single-season record.
The Broncos advanced to the 5A-I state championship game at Campo Verde High School, where they play the Hamilton Huskies, who they already defeated 1-0.