By Christian Guerithault ’14
Brophy soccer finished their championship four-game playoff ride with a perfect 4-0 record.
The soccer team had no doubts all year about what had to be done in order to come out on top.
“Motivation was not an issue for us because of the nature of our results in the past,” said head soccer coach Mr. Marc Kelly ’87. “We had been to the finals in the past three years so we knew what had to be done to take care of business.”
The Broncos were led by team captain Clarence Clark ’13 as well as a number of other players who played in leadership rolls.
The Broncos started their playoff run with a 3-0 win over Tucson High Magnet School; they then defeated the defending state champions, the Hamilton Huskies, with a 4-1 victory,;the Broncos beat Tolleson in the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory to secure a spot in the state championship game where they defeated Desert Vista 2-0.
“Our defense was the key,” Mr. Kelly said. “We played with a three man back line, most teams play with four, that’s a real statement as to how strong our defending and goalkeeping was.”
Backup goalkeeper Phil Mourikes ’14 also had praise for Brophy’s defense.
“We play like a team, we understand everyone’s style of play,” Mourikes said. “We work like a well-oiled machine so there really is no weakness. Our defense is our best offense and our offense is our defense.”
Mr. Kelly said he had no problem with his players becoming fatigued during the playoffs.
“I was always comfortable with bringing in guys off the bench who could play and make a major difference in the game,” Mr. Kelly said. “As is evidence by Phil Mourikes who was our backup goalie all year long and then came in halfway through the quarter-final game and carried us through the rest of the playoffs. That shows that we had incredible depth in our bench.”
Mourikes took over as goalkeeper when starting goalie, Michael O’Connor ’13, went down with an injury against Hamilton in the quarter-final game.
“We had a heavy loss of our senior goalkeeper, Michael O’Connor, during the quarter-finals game where a Hamilton player fouled him and he was knocked out,” Mourikes said. “We had our eyes on the state championship, we wanted to bring it back for the school and having Mikey at our games brought more momentum to the team and we were not going to accept defeat.”
Mr. Kelly said the playoffs are always different than the regular season; teams need to stay focused if they want to win.
“The playoffs are certainly stressful, when you get to the playoffs it’s one game and you’re out. You stumble a little bit, you give up a bad mistake, a team somehow gets hot or a player gets hot then it could be over for you,” Mr. Kelly said. “There’s a lot of tension and a lot of stress but when you have a team full of seniors who have been there and done that then the stress is certainly lessened.”